I think you'll agree that's a pretty scary table! It seems almost every modern product contains VOCs. And I haven't even listed all the VOCs! So much so that it would be difficult to rid ourselves of them.
These days, we're all trying to save energy on heating, whether for money or environmental reasons. A big part of being energy efficient is having a well insulated, ideally airtight, house. Although this insulation keeps out the cold, it also keeps in the harmful VOCs. This build-up of VOCs in a building can lead to us experiencning "sick building syndrome".
NASA did a study in the late 80s to analyse how houseplants could be used to remove common VOCs and improve indoor air quality. They found that in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, certain house plants were great at filtering VOCs.
In the table below, I show some common houseplants you can use to rid your home of the main VOCs. They're not necessarily the best plants, but I've tried to show common plants that you can get almost everywhere. I've also shown, where the study provided them, the % of the VOC removed from the test chamber in 24hrs.
How Many Plants do You Need?
There's generally more formaldehyde in buildings than benzene or trichloroethylene, so you'll probably want to focus on getting rid of that. One of the best common houseplants for this is the Janet Craig. You'll see the Janet Craig and Peace Lily are effective at removing all three VOCs I've been talking about, so they're great ones to use to clean the air in your home.
Knowing how many clean air plants to use per cubic metre of air volume is not an exact science. It depends on air flow as well as how much off-gassing (releasing of VOCs) is taking place. The general recommendation is that you should have around 1 plant for every 10 square metres (107 square feet).
Other Plants that Clean the Air
You probably don't want to limit yourself to the above air cleaning plants. Here are some more good clean air plants for you to use:
Most clean air plants darker-leaved, shade or partial sun-loving plants.
Return from Clean Air Plants to Indoor Plants
Return from Clean Air Plants to Indoor Gardening