Dr Wolverton helpfully gives each of the plants he features a rating out of 10 based on removal of chemical vapours, ease of growth and maintence, resistance to pests and transpiration rate. The number one rated plant is the areca palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, which he describes as "consistently rated as one of the best houseplants for removing all indoor air toxins tested". Other high scorers include the rubber plant, Ficus robusta, common-or-garden ivy (Hedera helix) and various members of the Dracaena family.
I've already got several of the book's top 50, but I'm also aware I have no plants in my daughter's room or my bedroom - places where a bit of pollutant removal should be a priority, it seems to me. The top performer of the areca palm looks like a must-have, but they seem fairly pricey as they're usually sold as largish specimens of 1m tall or more, but I just spotted they have them in Ikea: a 120cm tall plant for £16.99. Sanseveria trifasciata, commonly known by by its un-PC title mother-in-law's tongue, only scores 6.3 on Dr Wolverton's scale, but fascinatingly it differs from most plants in that it produces oxygen at night rather than carbon dioxide - a good one for the bedroom perhaps?
If you're one of those people that can't reall see the point of houseplants, this book is worth a read. If you're into houseplants already, it'll shed new light on your hobby. Just don't buy all the areca palms from Ikea before I get there, ok?!