Table: Cleaning Up the Dirt

Plants are great concentrators of certain contaminants. Some even neutralize toxins into less harmful substances, which can then be carted away

FERNS

Roots absorb mercury and arsenic from soil.

POPLAR TREES

Store waterborne contaminants such as natrazine and nitrates in bark, leaves, or roots. Some toxins, including landfill lechates, are metabolized into kinder stuff.

TOMATO PLANTS

Absorb zinc, copper, and lead.

SUNFLOWERS

Thrive in radioactive waters near Chernobyl; the roots concentrate

pollutants.

GRASSES

Soak up and hasten degradation of oil and other hydrocarbons in soil.

INDIAN MUSTARD PLANTS

Concentrate lead, selenium, and other toxins in their shoots.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE