Indoor plants improve air quality, remove cancer-causing toxins, study finds

The World Health Organization reports poor indoor air quality is responsible for 6.7 million premature deaths globally. Researchers believe people spend 90% of their time indoors.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A groundbreaking study conducted by researchers in Australia has discovered the ability of indoor plants to eliminate toxic fumes and cancer-causing compounds.

The University of Technology Sydney, in partnership with Ambius, a plantscaping company, discovered that there was a 97 percent reduction in many toxic compounds after eight hours of exposure to a variety of plants.

Researchers said the source of the majority of the toxins were from vapors from vehicles, and even though a house may be dislodged from a carport or garage, emissions from roadways was a source of pollution.

"This is the first time plants have been tested for their ability to remove petrol-related compounds, and the results are astounding," Fraser Torpy, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said in a statement. "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, the known carcinogen benzene is digested at a faster rate than less harmful substances, like alcohols. We also found that the more concentrated the toxins in the air, the faster and more effective the plants became at removing them, demonstrating that plants adapt to their growing conditions."


The World Health Organization reports poor indoor air quality is responsible for 6.7 million premature deaths globally every year.

Experts say fumes and other toxins can lead to respiratory irritation, headaches, nausea, asthma and increased risks of diseases and cancers.

These health issues arise from time spent indoors at school, home and the workplace.

"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," Johan Hodgson, a general manager at Ambius, stated.


The study concluded that introducing plants into living areas was a cost-effective and sustainable method for removing indoor contaminants and improving the quality of life.

In Australia alone, researchers said plants could lead to a 20-60% reduction in sick leave and a 40% reduction in anxiety and negative feelings.

"The bottom line is that the best, most cost-effective and most sustainable way to combat harmful indoor air contaminants in your workplace and home is to introduce plants," said Hodgson.