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Does ZZ Plant Cause Cancer? | A Lifesaving Answer!

The ZZ plants have gained immense popularity as resilient and low-maintenance houseplants.

Their attractive glossy foliage and ability to thrive in various indoor environments have become a top choice for many enthusiasts.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential cancer-causing properties of the ZZ plant. Considering that these plants are widely present in our surroundings, we need to further explore if the ZZ plant causes cancer.

So, let’s delve into more details regarding the question – Can ZZ plant cause cancer?

Keep reading!

Can ZZ plant cause cancer? – Image via Flickr

Understanding the ZZ plants!

The ZZ plant, also known as Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a tropical perennial native to Eastern Africa.

ZZ plants are characterized by their thick, fleshy stems and glossy, dark green foliage, composed of several pairs of leaflets. The plant’s unique appearance often draws attention, with its leaflets having a smooth, waxy texture and a symmetrical, feather-like arrangement.

One of the most notable features of the ZZ plant is its ability to tolerate low light conditions, making it an ideal choice for indoor environments.

These plants are also known for their resilience and adaptability, thriving in various temperatures and humidity levels.

Additionally, the ZZ plant has a slow growth rate, requiring minimal care and attention, contributing to its popularity among novice and experienced plant owners.

Black flat screen computer monitor beside white and blue ceramic mug and a ZZ plant
Black flat screen computer monitor beside white and blue ceramic mug and a ZZ plant – Image via Unsplash

Popular Uses and Benefits of the ZZ Plant!

The ZZ plant serves multiple purposes beyond its aesthetic appeal.

As a houseplant, it adds a touch of greenery to indoor spaces, enhancing the overall ambiance and bringing a sense of tranquility. Its low light requirements suit areas with limited natural sunlight, such as offices, bedrooms, and windowless rooms.

Apart from its decorative value, the ZZ plant is known for its air-purifying abilities. It has been found to remove toxins, such as xylene and toluene, and toxic impurities from the air, thus improving indoor air quality.

This makes the ZZ plant a valuable addition to spaces where pollution and toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be a concern.

Furthermore, the ZZ plant is low-maintenance, requiring infrequent watering and minimal pruning.

Its ability to store water in its rhizomes allows it to withstand periods of drought, making it an excellent choice for those who may tend to overwater their ZZ plants.

Related Article: Why Is My ZZ Plant Drooping? (6 Causes & Tips to Recover) (

Green plant on white ceramic pot
Green plant on white ceramic pot – Image via Unsplash

Does ZZ Plant Cause Cancer?

The concern regarding the ZZ plants causing cancer has been circulating through various sources, including online forums, social media, and word-of-mouth.

It is important to understand the origins and prevalence of this claim to evaluate its credibility. While specific origins can be challenging to trace due to the rapid spread of information, it is essential to recognize that anecdotal claims and misinformation can contribute to the prevalence of such concerns.

So, what does the scientific evidence suggest? Can ZZ plant cause cancer? For now, no scientific evidence supports the claim that the ZZ plant is involved in causing cancer. The ZZ plant is generally considered to be safe because there is no evidence that the ZZ plant causes cancer.

However, it is mildly toxic, which we are going to discuss in the later section.

It is crucial to remember that each person’s allergies and sensitivities are unique, and some people may be allergic or sensitive to various plants, including the ZZ plant.

If you have specific concerns or pre-existing allergies, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

A Person Carrying Brown Cardboard Box with ZZ Plant on Top
A Person Carrying Brown Cardboard Box with ZZ Plant on Top – Image via Pexels

Are ZZ Plants Poisonous? | Toxic Calcium Oxalate!

ZZ plants are regarded as mildly toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in them.

Many houseplants, or should I say, many poisonous houseplants contain sharp calcium oxalate crystals in them.

When ingested, these toxic calcium oxalate crystals can cause poisonous symptoms, including:

  • Numbness or burning sensation of the tongue, mouth, and lips.

  • Swelling of tongue and lips.

  • Irritation in the mouth.

  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

So, is the ZZ plant poisonous?

Yes, it is mildly poisonous! ZZ plant poisoning can be prevented by not ingesting any of the plant parts. Also, keep children and pets away from the plant.

It’s better to wash your hands immediately after handling a ZZ plant.

If someone ingested a poisonous ZZ plant, seek medical help immediately.

Can ZZ Plant Cause Other Health Issues?

Although ZZ plants do not cause cancer, some reports have been of individuals experiencing allergic reactions or sensitivities to the ZZ plant.

The reactions to the plant’s toxins can vary depending on the individual, but these commonly include:

Skin Irritation: Some individuals with sensitive skin may develop skin irritation, such as redness, itching, or a rash, upon contact with the ZZ plant’s leaves or plant’s sap. This can occur due to an allergic reaction or skin sensitivity to certain compounds present in the plant.

Respiratory Discomfort: In rare cases, individuals may experience respiratory discomfort, such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, when exposed to the ZZ plant. This can result from inhaling airborne particles or allergens released by the plant.

Now, let’s see how to handle a ZZ plant carefully.

Best Practices for Handling and Caring for The ZZ Plant!

To ensure the safe and responsible cultivation of ZZ plants, following best practices for handling and caring for the plant is essential.

These practices include:

Proper Hand Hygiene: Washing hands thoroughly after handling the ZZ plant or coming into contact with its leaves or plant sap can help minimize the risk of any potential irritation or allergic reactions.

Placement in well-ventilated areas: While the ZZ plant is generally considered safe, placing it in well-ventilated areas can help mitigate any potential build-up of allergens or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Regular cleaning and dusting: Dusting the ZZ plant’s leaves with a soft, damp cloth or gently rinsing them under lukewarm water can help remove accumulated dust, allergens, or potential irritants.

Woman spraying eternity plant from the bottle at home
Woman spraying eternity plant from the bottle at home – Image via Pexels

Guidelines Regarding the ZZ Plant’s Use and Safety Precautions

The following are the guidelines:

  • Keep out of reach of children and pets: As with any indoor plant pot, it is important to keep the ZZ plant out of the reach of children and pets. This helps prevent accidental ingestion, potential allergic reactions, or choking hazards.

  • Seek medical advice for pre-existing allergies or sensitivities: Individuals with known allergies or sensitivities to plants should consult a healthcare professional before introducing the ZZ plant into their environment. This can help assess any potential risks and determine appropriate precautions.

  • Consult reputable sources for plant care information: Following guidelines and instructions from reputable sources such as horticultural societies, experts, or reputable websites can ensure that proper care practices are implemented to maintain the health and safety of the ZZ plant.

That’s all for today!

Let’s head toward the conclusion.


So, can ZZ plant cause cancer? I hope you now have the answer!

While there have been claims of health issues like mild allergic reactions, no definitive study has proven that the ZZ plant causes cancer.

However, it is essential to encourage responsible plant ownership and informed decision-making when choosing and caring for indoor plants, including the ZZ plant. This involves considering personal health conditions, allergies, and sensitivities. Consulting with healthcare professionals and reputable sources for plant care information can contribute to making well-informed choices and taking appropriate precautions.

Responsible plant ownership, proper care, and consideration of personal health factors can help ensure a positive experience with the ZZ plant and other indoor plants.

With that said, let’s conclude today’s talk.