Known as Wi-Fi, wifi, or WiFi, Wireless Fidelity has been available to the public since 1999. Most would agree that this technology has completely changed the way we operate on a daily basis, but can it be harmful?
Several studies spawned after an intuitive classroom research project gained widespread international attention. While scientists cannot conclude unequivocally whether wi-fi signals are strong enough to cause damage to the human body, plants and trees have shown negative effects. Studies continue to be undertaken to find evidentiary support that will allow researchers to take a firm stance on this issue. Here’s what we know right now.
Is Wifi Bad for Plants?’
Concerns over EMF power-lines in the 90’s and the uproar over the relation between cancer causing cell phone ear buds continues with Wi-Fi routers. In fact, a full blown campaign to stop the implementation of Wireless Smart Meters is in full swing in the UK.
StopSmartMeters.com claims that wifi signals pose a serious threat and raise several health concerns. This argument comes with significant scientific support. StopSmartMeters published a list of 34 Research Studies that revealed that WiFi does pose adverse biological effect on humans. Here are several studies done on the relation between wifi and Viridiplantae (green plants).
The Affect of Wireless Routers on Plants
Cress Garden Study on WiFI
Students at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark had the intuitive idea to conduct an experiment on the affects of Wi-Fi on plant growth. These little kids have caused a big stir across the globe, raising discussions among leading scientists, radiation experts, and concerned parents. A bright group of 9th graders were prompted to begin their study after students experienced weariness on nights where they slept with mobile phones nearby.
“We all thought we experienced concentration problems in school if we slept with our mobile phones at the bedside, and sometimes we also found it difficult sleeping.”
Being that they didn’t have the necessary equipment to do testing on the themselves, students opted to experiment with garden seeds. Nonetheless, they’re probably glad they took this path!
The girls grew 12 trays of Lepidium Sativum seeds (cress seeds), placing 6 trays in a room without any electrical equipment and 6 trays in a separate room in between 2 wireless computer routers. They divided 400 cress seeds evenly between each tray. Temperature was controlled to eliminate any variables that could affect findings.
The study found that wi-fi signals are in fact strong enough to kill plants. After 12 days, cress seeds in the WiFi room turned brown and died. On the contrary, seeds placed in the non-wifi room thrived.
Critics of this study question whether the heat emitted by the wireless routers were the real cause behind the deteriorating conditions of the plants. This is a definite possibility since plants grown in extreme temperatures do not bloom correctly and can often die or stunt in growth. Kim Horsevad, Biology teacher of the students had this to say.
“This has sparked quite a lively debate in Denmark regarding the potential adverse health effects from mobile phones and wifi equipment.”
Research Study in Holland
In 2010, Dutch scientists sought to uncover the cause of damaged bark and dying leaves on local Fraxinus (ash) trees in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn. In this habitat, plant life displayed abnormalities without any known viral infections.
Trees were exposed to a variation of radiation frequencies ranging from 2412 MHz to 2472 MHz and a power of 100 mW at 20 inches in distance. They found that trees that were closer to Wi-Fi radios grew a “lead-like shine” on leaves. This was a result of the upper and lower epidermis of the tree dying.
70% of trees in urban districts of the Netherlands show similar symptoms. This is up from only 10% just 5 years ago. A surprising fact that has worried many. Conversely, trees in densely populated forested areas did not show any of these signs.
To be completely unbiased, it must be noted that wifi signals emit a very low intensity radio wave that is 100,000 times less powerful than a microwave. To put this into perspective, a twenty minute phone call of your mobile phone will expose you to the same amount of radio waves if you would experience sitting in a WiFi hotspot for a year.
What are your thoughts? Share you feedback with me on Twitter or leave a message in the comments below. Although research continues on this topic, it has raised concerns over the effects that Wi-Fi may have on plants and the human body. From the information presented thus far, wifi may be negatively impacting plant growth.
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a freelancer who can be found elsewhere in the blogosphere. She maintains her own cute little garden and loves getting her hands buried in a fresh batch of mulch!