By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – EPA studies show that on average the air inside your home is two to five percent more polluted than the outside air. Certain house plants might be able to fix that.

Jessica Weiss likes the way her house plants look, and was surprised to find out her green thumb has another advantage.

“My allergist told me that they improve air quality. And bamboo is actually one of the better plants for improving air quality,” said Jessica.

Plants take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen in a process called photosynthesis. But some plants do a lot more.

“They do a wonderful job in removing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and even benzene or other voc’s, which are volatile organic compounds, which are potentially dangerous chemicals that can
accumulate in the home,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett.

Experts say as we’ve made our homes and apartments more energy efficient and air tight, the chemicals in cleaning products, furnishings, paints, even clothing, all stay in the air inside.

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Plants could be the solution. A number of scientific studies, including one from NASA, have found that certain plants can actively remove harmful chemicals from the air.

“These super plants are something that should be part of every ones overall preventive wellness program,” said Dr. Bassett.

Some of the better air-purifying plants include Philodendron, Mother-in-Laws Tongue and Peace Lily.

“I’m not sure if I tell a specific different, but my allergies aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be,” said Jessica.

Most of these super plants don’t produce much pollen, so they shouldn’t aggravate those allergies. But they can grow mold if you over water them, or keep the humidity too high in your home.

Other plants that are said to help clean the air include purple waffle plant, English ivy, asparagus fern, bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, purple heart, gerbera daisy, variegated wax plants, Janet Craig, marginata, mass cane, and pot mum.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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