Pioneering Study Shows Plants’ Ability to Remove Cancer-Causing Fumes from Indoor Spaces

By: | June 11th, 2023

Testing plants as ‘purifiers’ in sealed chambers. (Image by UTS)

A groundbreaking study has recently unveiled the remarkable ability of plants to effectively purify indoor air. By removing harmful pollutants and cancer-causing substances, plants helped in improved air quality within a remarkably short time.

This significant research demonstrated that plants possess the capability to cleanse indoor environments. Additionally, the study’s findings indicate that indoor plants are capable of eliminating hazardous carcinogens like benzene.

This discovery emphasizes the potential of plants to contribute to a healthier and cleaner indoor atmosphere.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) researchers, collaborated with plant-scaping solutions company Ambius, for this research.

“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,” says Ambius General Manager Johan Hodgson.

They investigated a vertical wall system fitted with indoor plants and its ability to remove harmful compounds in petrol vapors. The plants proved effective in reducing levels of cancer-causing compounds below 20 percent of initial concentrations during a typical workday. This highlights the plants’ remarkable capacity to enhance indoor air quality and create a safer environment.

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

“We also found that the more concentrated the toxins in the air, the faster and more effective the plants became at removing the toxins, showing that plants adapt to the conditions they’re growing in.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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