The quality of the air we breathe is important to our health. Obvious? Sure. But how do we know that the air in our homes is healthy?

Other than allergies flaring up and telling us, or a high-tech analysis, there is no real way to know. But there are ways to help minimize air pollutants, even if we can't see them, smell them or feel them.Plants are the answer.

That poses two more questions: how many and what kinds?

The Foliage for Clean Air Council suggests that one potted plant per 100 square feet of floor space can effectively remove most pollutants from the interior air. And, they say, there are specific plants that clean specific pollutants.

One common pollutant within the home is formaldehyde, found not only in many home construction products but many common-use items inside the home. Here are some examples of items containing formaldehyde, along with suggested antidote plants:

- Foam insulation: chrysanthemum

- Plywood: azalea

- Particle board: dieffenbachia

- Carpeting: philodendron

- Furniture: spider plant

- Clothes: golden pothos

- Paper goods: bamboo palm

- Household cleaners: corn plant

- Water repellents: mother-in-law tongues

Benzene is another offender. Here is another list of antagonizers along with the cures:

-Synthetic fibers: chrysanthemum

- Plastics: Gerbera daisy

- Tobacco smoke: peace lily

- Detergents: English ivy

Turning a fan on, or circulating air by means of an open window or a blowing air conditioner, helps get these toxins moving through the air so the plants can absorb them.

So displaying a few plants fulfills more than one function. They decorate the house and help clean the air at the same time.