Posted on Jun 02, 2023, 7 p.m.
A groundbreaking study led by the University of Technology Sydney in partnership with Ambius reveals that a small indoor green wall of plants can effectively remove toxic petrol fumes, including cancer-causing compounds like benzene from indoor air.
Plants help to brighten up a room and as it turns out they can also help to protect your health. Most people are aware that they help to clean the air and produce oxygen, but this study suggests that they can also help to eliminate harmful chemicals in the air, removing almost all of the cancer-causing fumes from a room.
“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.
Air pollution is a growing concern in urban environments. W.H.O suggests that poor air quality is globally responsible for 6.7 million premature deaths. Indoor air is estimated to be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air due to the presence of concentrated VOCs. Most people spend the majority of their time inside, that could be at home, at work, at school, or even places shopping. Because of people spending a large amount of time indoors, it is important to find ways to help eliminate air pollution that is indoors.
The researchers found that a small green wall made up of a mixture of indoor plants was effective at removing carcinogenic air pollutants, being found to remove 97% of the most toxic compounds from the surrounding air within 8 hours and over 50% of the pollutants from all chemical classes. While this is not the first study to demonstrate this, it is the first to show that plants can help to remove gasoline fumes from the air, which is one of the world’s largest sources of toxic compounds in buildings. They report that their findings were validated after receiving positive feedback from hundreds of office buildings where they installed plants into.
“This is the first time plants have been tested for their ability to remove petrol-related compounds, and the results are astounding,” says Associate Professor Fraser Torpy, the study leader and a UTS bioremediation researcher.
“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,” Torpy continues.
“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.”
“At Ambius, we see over and over again the effects plants have in improving health, wellbeing, productivity and office attendance for the thousands of businesses we work with. This new research proves that plants should not just be seen as ‘nice to have’, but rather a crucial part of every workplace wellness plan,” Hodgson concludes.
“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.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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