When NASA was testing houseplants to find the ones which would create superior atmospheres for space travel, scientists discovered several houseplants which actually purify air poisoned by chemicals. This became especially relevant as modern buildings have become more airtight while being filled with chemical fumes caused by paint, insulation and carpet. The plants discovered to be the most effective at purifying the air are mostly tropical plants which evolved to need little sunlight, and are therefore more efficient at processing gasses and having a greater ability to absorb gasses.
Benzene Absorbing Plants
Benzene is a chemical solvent found in oils and paints. Two flowering plants, commonly kept outdoors--rather than indoors--which reduce the amount of benzene in the air are gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums. Houseplants that purify air laden with benzene are English ivy, pot mums, golden pothos, mass cane, peace lilies, bamboo palms and mother-in-law's tongue.
Trichloroethylene Absorbing Plants
Trichloroethylene is a chemical used in paints, adhesives, inks and varnishes. Houseplants that help purify the air polluted with trichloroethylene are peace lilies and bamboo palms. The gerbera daisy is also effective in treating your air for trichloroethylene.
Formaldehyde Absorbing Plants
Formaldehyde is a chemical found in particle board and foam insulation. To detoxify air poisoned with this chemical, keep philodendron, spider plants, golden pothos, bamboo palms, mother-in-law's tongue, Dracaena warneckei, peace lilies and Dracaena marginata as houseplants.
Additional Air Purifying Plants
Other houseplants that excel at purifying your air are weeping figs, Chinese evergreen, snake plants, aloe vera, mums and ficus.