There’s quite a maelstrom of articles both for and against the results of the 1989 NASA Study that proved plants can clean our indoor air.
Appearing to contradict the findings of the original NASA Study is a new study published November 6, 2019 by Bryan E. Cummings & Michael S. Waring in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. If you read each of the 77 included studies, however, what you will find is far more of a compromise between the two polarized views currently taking shape in online media.
One study, in particular (#74 on the list), Biofiltration of airborne VOCs with green wall systems—Microbial and chemical dynamics by Mikkonen A, Li T, Vesala M, Saarenheimo J, Ahonen V, Kärenlampi S, et al, clearly states “Botanical air filtration is a promising technology for reducing indoor air contaminants, but the underlying mechanisms need better understanding.”
If you can wade your way through the dense research language, what you will find throughout many of the studies is confirmation that plants (their roots and soil) do have a filtering capability for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). What plants do not have is a mechanism for filtering the air in a home or building where doors and windows open, people pass through rooms, and all sorts of other factors that were not present in the original NASA study. This is why more research needs to be done.
Learn more about this new study from 2019.