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I'm six weeks pregnant and I live in a 7th floor apartment in Mumbai, India. My apartment complex is on a busy road with 24/7 traffic and traffic jams in the morning and evening. I'm worried about the developmental neurotoxins from automobile emissions. In my house, the fan exhausts in the kitchen and bathroom are open to the outside so outdoor air readily flows into the house. I was reading that NASA has done some research on indoor plants which can reduce air pollution. I was wondering if someone could recommend plants that are 1) easy to grow (I'm a novice gardener), and 2) removes the pollutants found in automobile exhaust? What types and how many plants should I buy?

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There are indoor plants that absorb pollutants, but most of the pollutants concerned are caused by indoor furniture rather than outdoor pollutants which may be getting in. Even so, the following would be quite useful:

Dracaena marginata; Aglaonoma crispum; Spathiphyllum; Scindapsus aureus (Golden Pothos); Chlorophyllum comosum (spider plant).

Palms such as Areca are pretty good at cleaning the air, but they do take up a lot of room because of their arching, wide spreading growth.

It's probably sensible to invest in a very good air purifier with HEPA filters, having worked out the square footage within your apartment, as well as adding plants. They aren't cheap to buy and the replacement filters can be expensive, but they'll do a better job of removing traffic pollutants than plants will on their own.

  • Spider plants are easy to grow, but they do much better if you give them lots of sunlight and water. They can work without that, but they don't thrive, flower and produce new spider plants as much. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jan 9 '15 at 6:03

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