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Clearing the Air

Some plants can help

(HealthDayNews) -- If you've renovated your home lately, think about hanging spider plants in the rooms where new wood products -- like plywood -- were used.

The easy-to-grow plant, technically known as Chlorophytum elatum or green spider plant, is capable of significantly reducing formaldehyde in the atmosphere, reports David Bodanis in his book, The Secret Family.

Formaldehyde, a stiffening agent commonly used in wood products, also is considered a major contaminant. On a warm day or when the heat has been on overnight, the concentration of formaldehyde at floor level can be twice the concentration as in the rest of the house, Bodanis says.

Tests sponsored by NASA show that the spider plant and other common house plants -- including several kinds of philodendron, golden pothos, aloe vera and Chinese evergreen -- also can reduce concentrations of benzene and carbon monoxide by more than half in a 24-hour period.

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