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The NASA Clean Air Study was a project led by (NASA) in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) to research ways to clean the air in space stations. Its results suggested that, in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis, certain common indoor plants may also provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.
The study further suggested that efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of space, but was conducted under sealed space station conditions and research conducted since has shown mixed results in the home or office.
A different study in 2004 has also shown that the micro-organisms in the soil of a potted plant remove benzene from the air, and that some plant species themselves also contribute to removing benzene.