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Breathing Clean: How Plants Help Remove Cancer-Causing Toxins from the Air

Discover the transformative potential of plants in purifying indoor air and enhancing your well-being, guided by pioneering research.

Image of a living wall

Did you know that poor air quality is linked to well over 6 million premature deaths a year? Since the move to remote work during the pandemic, this problem has only increased. With most people spending approximately 90% of their time indoors, the quality of indoor air has profound implications on public health. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom: a fascinating study highlighted the potential for plants to help remove cancer-causing toxic compounds from indoor air. But you don’t need an indoor forest. With a relatively easy fix like a green wall, most offices can get maximum impact with minimum disruption.

In the ongoing battle against air pollution, the pioneering research by Associate Professor Fraser Torpy, a bioremediation expert from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), represents a significant milestone in our industry. We’re now able to better understand how nature can work in tandem with science to create healthier indoor environments.

Overview of the Study: 

  • Researchers created nine green walls with various plants attached.
  • Each green wall was placed in a sealed perspex chamber and exposed to petroleum vapors.
  • Petroleum vapors were generated by heating petrol-related chemicals in baths.
  • The chambers were tested every hour to measure vapor removal by the plants.
  • The most significant vapor removal occurred within an eight-hour period.
  • Chemical levels continued to decrease beyond eight hours.
  • Plants were most effective at removing pneumonia-causing alkanes (97.9% reduction).
  • Benzene, a carcinogen, also had a high removal rate (85.9%)

Indoor plants at AC Hotel

Indoor Air Quality: A Global Concern

Sick Building Syndrome is a costly concern when microorganisms and toxins concentrate within sealed office buildings. Research confirms that indoor air is often 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. Benzene, for example, is a cancer-causing toxin commonly found in building materials, furniture wax, paint and detergents, which when inhaled can cause severe health risks, including various forms of cancer, respiratory issues, and long-term health complications.

Furthermore, our close proximity to parking areas, which is often unavoidable in both office and apartment buildings, compounds the problem. These areas introduce petrol-related pollutants into our shared living and working spaces. When coupled with the influx of petrol fumes from nearby roads and highways, the issue worsens. 

Breathing in these fumes can result in discomfort like lung irritation, headaches, and nausea. Over time, they've also been linked to more severe health problems like cancer and asthma, reducing our overall quality of life.

Insights from Natura's Experts

As a biophilic interior landscaping company, we stand at the forefront of addressing this challenge. 

Our experts have unique insights into the application of biophilia through strategically selected plants to mitigate indoor air pollution. 

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that employers visibly indicate that their employee’s health, safety and well-being are a primary focus,” said Eric Koepke, VP of Operations at Natura. “The goal is to minimize risk with a multi-layered approach to effectively safeguard our people and places. As much as our buildings have the potential to spread disease, intentional changes to how we operate them can equally defend against it.”

What sets us apart is not only our profound understanding of the science behind biophilic design but also our artistic approach to interior landscaping. We integrate aesthetics with functionality, creating indoor spaces that are not only visually appealing but also conducive to health and well-being. To get a glimpse of the transformative power of our services, read our case studies: 


These real-life examples demonstrate how our innovative approach has enhanced the indoor environments of various businesses, fostering a healthier and more productive atmosphere.

At Natura, we’re always committed to ensuring quality, sustainability, and customization. Our selection of plant species, placement, and maintenance plans are tailored to the unique needs of each space. This ensures that our clients receive the most effective and visually pleasing air purification solutions.



Businesses seeking to combat harmful indoor air contaminants will greatly benefit from partnering with Natura. We’ve seen the benefits of indoor plants time and time again from the hundreds of businesses that we work with. By harnessing the natural power of plants, you can not only enhance indoor air quality but also reduce energy costs and improve employee well-being.


Ready to take action and improve your indoor air quality with Natura? Contact us today to transform your space and breathe cleaner, healthier air.