ZZ Plant Causes Cancer? Is ZZ Plant Toxic?

Once I happened to vomit after finishing pruning and watering my ZZ Plant severely. Soon, my mother forcibly admitted me to the hospital, speculating the plant made me sick. 

But the truth was that I had partied with my friends late that night. My mother being serious, canceled her business flight over the rumors that ZZ Plant caused Cancer. So she is to be clear about it!

Generally, the ZZ Plant is mildly poisonous to humans and pets but does not cause Cancer. However, the ZZ plant can cause kidney stones and rarely induce coma or cause death if the health worsens.

ZZ plants slender, curvy foliage in a pot
ZZ plant can remove toxins like benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene from air.

Still, gardeners debate on if the ZZ Plant causes Cancer.

Therefore, continue reading so you understand the truth of the ZZ Plants and ways to keep them in your space with proper caution.

Are ZZ Plants Poisonous to Humans and Pets?

ZZ plant is one of the most popular houseplants that purifies air by removing toxic gases like benzene, toluene, and xylene.

Therefore, considering its air purifying and stress relief benefits ZZ Plant makes excellent decor in the bedroom. Besides, you can grab other ZZ plant benefits.

Besides, the aesthetic beauty of the ZZ plant will brighten and add feng shui to your space.

However, this beneficial plant also shares a darker side, like a coin with two sides.

ZZ Plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that are mildly toxic and poisonous to humans and pets.

ZZ plant lying on a table alongside a statue of Buddha
ZZ Plant is mildly toxic to humans and pets due to the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.

Generally, these insoluble crystals help the plant to regulate calcium flow and tissue rigidity in a plant.

However, the useful substance of ZZ is harmful to humans and pets. 

Almost all parts of the ZZ Plant possess calcium oxalate crystals, making it entirely poisonous.

What are the Poisonous Symptoms of ZZ Plants?

Due to the sharp oxalate crystals, ZZ Plants induce acute pain and a burning sensation in the mouth as an immediate symptom.

Therefore, your pets and kids will most likely spit it out as soon they take a nibble.

However, symptoms will develop after swallowing any parts of the plants within a couple of minutes or hours.

ZZ plant in a black pot beside a black cat
ZZ Plant is mildly toxic to pets and will induce common symptoms such as a burning sensation in the mouth upon ingestion.

Meanwhile, normal skin contact with the plant is not dangerous to you and your pets. But the plant sap can induce irritation or allergies. 

Generally, accidental consumption of ZZ Plants in smaller amounts is not fatal but can cause mild stomach discomfort.

However, in severe conditions, ZZ Plant poisoning can cause throat swelling causing difficulty in breathing.

Look out for the following symptoms if you suspect your children nibbled and swallowed some ZZ Plant leaves or other parts.

  • Burning sensation and acute pain in the mouth and throat
  • Swollen mouth and throat
  • Temporary hoarseness
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

The symptoms of ZZ Plant poisoning in pets, usually cats and dogs, slightly vary from the symptoms found in children.

Symptoms Identification
Oral Pain and IrritationPets frequently paw their mouth
Swollen lips, tongues and mouthRed swollen areas near the mouth and show signs of irritation
Excessive DroolingFormation of excessive saliva and unusual drooling
VomitingContinuous throwing up without trying to eat anything
Difficulty BreathingRapid breathing
FoamingWhite foams around the mouth
DiarhheaConsistency of the feces of the pet changes into the fluid.
Dehydration Drinking unusually too much water and disorientation while walking
Reduced AppetitePets won't show any interest in eating and keep avoiding food.
Trouble SwallowingTake a long time than usual to chew and swallow the meal

Depending upon the severity of the poisoning, symptoms will last from 24 to 48 hours or even up to two weeks.

But do not worry because poisoning can be controllable, and you will get recovered with proper medications.

Call these helplines: Pet Poison helpline (800) 426-4435 for poisoning in pets and Poison Control (800) 222-1222 for poisoning in humans.

In general, it does not take more than a day or two for you and your pets to recover fully from the ZZ Plant poisoning.

Does ZZ Plant Causes Cancer?

Even if the ZZ Plant is mildly toxic and poisonous to humans and pets, many exaggerate it and spread rumors of causing Cancer.

Ingestion of the ZZ Plant is mildly toxic and poisonous, but it does not cause Cancer.

Especially the rumor of the ZZ Plant causing Cancer spread like wildfire in 2010, causing misunderstanding about the toxicity of the ZZ plant.

However, truth be told, ZZ Plants do not cause Cancer in any way but have other effects.

Instead, upon a large amount of ZZ Plant ingestion, severe calcium oxalate poisoning develop and cause kidney stones.

It can cause untimely death or induce coma in extreme conditions, but causing Cancer from the ZZ Plant is not possible.

Tips for Growing ZZ Plant with Caution

The alluring beauty of the ZZ Plant, along with tons of benefits, can easily shadow its mildly toxic traits.

Moreover, it will be like killing a bird with two stones if you place the ZZ Plant in the optimal place with proper caution.

ZZ Plant is low maintenance that can grow indoors or outdoors with very normal care needs.

Let us start with growing ZZ Plants cautiously to avoid accidental ingestion, shall we?

  • To keep the plant away from pets and children’s invasion, you can hang the plant pot where at least 6 hours of indirect bright light is available daily.
  • Spraying the plant with neem oil to repel insects and your pets who do not like strong scents.
  • Place the plant on the top shelf with deterrent tapes around it with the sticky side facing upwards to protect plants from cats and crawling pests.
zz plant taken outside
The potted ZZ Plant is portable to care for if the surrounding is unfavorable.
  • Ensure to water your plant after letting the top soil dry without touching the leaves. It helps to keep the leaves safe from forming molds.
  • Give your plant repotting every two years wear gloves, and thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Instead of throwing leftover coffee drinks, occasionally pour them around your plant, which acts as a fertilizer and the perfect pet deterrent.
  • Provide your ZZ Plant with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer every six months after diluting them to their half-strength.

Last but not least, do not panic if your curious pets or children notoriously take a nibble of the ZZ Plant.

It is mildly toxic and can be treated within a day. However, avoiding it from happening would be the best option.

Therefore, keep the plant with proper research and use some tactics to stay on the safe side while letting this beautiful plant purify the air for free.

Conclusion

The exaggerated rumor that the ZZ Plant causes Cancer is not true; however, it is mildly toxic and poisonous.

Therefore, do not be scared to keep the ZZ Plant in your home. Instead, place it at the proper location with caution.

If you own other houseplants, learn the toxicity of Yucca and Monstera

Furthermore, learn and prepare yourself with knowledge before running behind a false rumor.

Good Luck!!!

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