applewood has me blocked. I'll let him explain or not as he sees fit.
That said, The Atlantic has grossly mischaracterized the Wolverton study.
Something dumb about the Atlantic's pet expert Waring's study is he uses "plants" as units. The NASA study used "plant" as a unit because it studied an individual plant on top of a vapor box; every plant they studied is typically available in a 4" or 5" commercially, just like the samples studied by NASA. Something else dumb is that Waring argues that plants don't remove toxins because the air circulation is inadequate; the NASA study measured a single Gerber daisy removing 39mg of tricloroethane in a day but that doesn't count because there's a fan, I guess.
Waring's study basically supports the notion that a single plant in a single office doesn't help the air much. Even the study he mocks shows that a dozen houseplants in a room reduce airborne contaminants by 11%. But that doesn't matter much because what Waring is really trying to do is sell you on green walls.
That's him on the left, by the way.
As it turns out, green walls are pretty damn effective at air purification:
To no one's surprise, Dr. Waring thinks we need more research to verify this sort of thing. Hey, Andrew Wakefield managed to get something like 3 million kids studied when he said vaccines cause autism so okay, "houseplant's don't actually clean the air."
For the record, this is mine.
By NASA's count there's 200 "plants" there. Reception is 122 square feet. If those were all werneckei that wall could, by NASA's estimate, remove eight grams of aerosolized petroleum a day, assuming I hit it with a fan.