Sucking the oxygen out of a room is never a good thing, to paraphrase the old saying.
But the right blend and arrangement of plants indoors can absorb harmful gasses and compounds inside the rooms and buildings where, according to some estimates, people can spend up to 90% of their time.
A mix of leafy constituents – such as ferns, including Green Lady, and Dracaena, fashioned into a “green wall” – can be “highly effective at removing harmful, cancer-causing pollutants”, according to a study led by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) associate professor Dr Fraser Torpy, in partnership with international interior landscaping company Ambius.
And while earlier work suggests plants “can remove a broad range of indoor air contaminants”, the publishers claim the research is “the first study into the ability of plants to clean up gasoline vapours”, which cause lung irritation and headaches, and have been linked “to an increased risk of cancer, asthma and other chronic diseases”.
Done right, the green wall can yank more than 90% of the toxins from the surrounding air “in just eight hours”.
It’s probably worth taking a breath and letting all that soak in as, going by World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, toxic indoor air kills around 6.7 million people a year worldwide.
“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,” said Assoc Prof Torpy.
“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 Ambius general manager Johan Hodgson. – dpa