Imagine a room where four teenagers sleep, spending their mornings playing basketball and their afternoons competing with Play. Among other things, they devour large quantities of sandwiches, bags of chips and, for dessert, donuts. Now imagine what that room smells like and you’ll understand a little better why NASA has been so concerned about knowing which plants clean the air best. In fact, NASA is not concerned about teenagers, but rather about living and health conditions on the International Space Station, which is, in effect, a fairly enclosed space. And the cleanliness of the air there is not so much related to the pestilence of the astronauts’ shoes as to some toxic agents that we can also find in our homes, such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene or benzene.
The chrysanthemum is a beautiful ornamental plant with colorful flowers. It comes from Asia, where it is used in traditional Chinese medicine against eye irritations and colds with fever. In Spain it is common to use it as a funeral flower. The plant absorbs from the air benzene (which causes irritation and dizziness), formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylenes and toluenes and ammonium. Caution, because it is toxic to pets.