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Indoor plants remove cancer-causing toxins from air, study finds

A new study shows that indoor plants improve air quality by removing harmful toxins including gasoline fumes and carcinogens

Indoor plants can remove harmful toxins from air, new study finds. (Unsplash)
Indoor plants can remove harmful toxins from air, new study finds. (Unsplash)

A new study has revealed that plants can efficiently remove toxic fumes and cancer-causing compounds from indoor air and thus, leave you with better air quality in a short time. The findings are being considered ground-breaking as this is the first study to show plants can clean up gasoline vapours. The researchers also showed that indoor plants can eliminate cancer-causing toxins such as benzene.

The new study was led by the University of Technology Sydney bioremediation researcher Associate Professor Fraser Torpy, in partnership with Ambius, a plantscaping company. They found that the Ambius small green wall, which contains a mix of indoor plants, effectively removed harmful, cancer-causing pollutants. Notably, it removed 97% of the most toxic compounds from the surrounding air in just eight hours, according to a press statement by the University of Technology Sydney

Also read: Plants that can reduce the air pollution inside your home

According to World Health Organisation, poor indoor air quality is responsible for 6.7 million premature deaths globally. As the majority of people spend most of their time indoors at home, school or the workplace, understanding and implementing new solutions to improve air quality is important.

Commenting on the research, Ambius General Manager Johan Hodgson said it provided new evidence into the critical role played by indoor plants and green walls in cleaning the air we breathe quickly and sustainably.

"We know that indoor air quality is often significantly more polluted than outdoor air, which in turn impacts mental and physical health. But the great news is this study has shown that something as simple as having plants indoors can make a huge difference," he said in the press statement.

Moreover, the findings show how plants can eliminate gasoline-related compounds, which often seep into workplaces and buildings. Gasoline fumes are one of the largest sources of toxic compounds in buildings worldwide. Breathing these fumes cause lung irritation, headaches and nausea, and previous research has linked it to increased risk of cancer, asthma and other chronic diseases from longer-term exposure, contributing to decreased life expectancy.

“Not only can plants remove the majority of pollutants from the air in a matter of hours, they remove the most harmful gasoline-related pollutants from the air most efficiently, for example, known carcinogen benzene is digested at a faster rate than less harmful substances, like alcohols,” explained Torpy in the statement.

Also read: How global warming is affecting even cactus plants

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