We all know that plants and trees have the inherent power to trade carbon dioxide for oxygen in the atmosphere–that is one of the most important natural phenomena that keeps our Earth revolving. Unfortunately, thousands are subject to breathing in toxic fumes, whether from parked vehicles, indoor stove tops or leaks, lawn equipment, or other household or commercial items. This can induce serious illness and increase the risk of cancer, asthma, respiratory complications, and other severe conditions.

A recent study conducted by a team from the University of Technology Sydney have found that plants can take away these harmful toxins, gasoline fumes, and cancer causing compounds from the air. Led by Bioremediation Researcher Associate Professor Fraser Torpy in partnership with Ambius, a globally known plantscaping company, the study found ground-breaking data. They found that Ambius’ small green wall consisting of various indoor plants was highly effective at removing the harmful pollutants floating around in the air. With a 97% removal success rate within just eight hours, this newly found evidence proves that plants are critical to our well-being and overall health, and through this method it can be done quickly and sustainably. 

"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,” stated Torpy. 

This is also the first study to show evidence of cleaning gasoline fumes and vapors. Past studies have shown success in removing basic outdoor and indoor contaminants, such as carbon dioxide and other gasses. Usually, residential, commercial, or industrial buildings have some sort of garage or parking lot attached, typically with poor ventilation. This gives way for the toxic fumes to eminent throughout the lot and seep into the buildings. Poor indoor air quality is responsible for about 6.7 million premature deaths due to developed illness, conditions, or disorders. And about 97% of people spend their time indoors whether for school, at home, work, or any other indoor event. Adopting this new removal strategy can be critical for the livelihood of those unknowingly ingesting toxic fumes. 

The study also shows that the heavier and more concentrated the pollutants were in the air, the faster and more effective the plants were at removal. This in turn means that plants are adaptable to various conditions they grow in, and can deliver success in any location they are placed in. According to Torpy, this study and the resulting research exceeded the team’s expectations in effectiveness and success. 

"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," stated Ambius General Manager, Johan Hodgson.