Five ninth grade students from Hjallerup School in Denmark conducted a science experiment that elicited profound and shocking results about the effects of cell phone radiation. Their project was inspired by the observation that they had difficulty sleeping if their cell phones were next to their heads at night. They originally hoped to test the effects of a cell phone’s radiation on humans, but since their school did not have the necessary equipment to do so, they decided to experiment with radiation exposure on plants instead. Using two wireless routers that emitted about the same type of radiation as an average cell phone, they filled six trays full of the garden cress Lepidium sativum and placed them in a room with two routers, and then placed six trays of the plant in a room without Wi-Fi routers. Keep reading to find out what transpired during their experiment.
For 12 days, the students observed the experimental and control groups. Both samples were kept sufficiently moist and the temperature was controlled thermostatically. They found that the garden cress exposed to the Wi-Fi router radiation refused to grow, and most were dead. The other group of plants remained green and healthy in the absence of radiation. In addition to earning the girls a top prize in a regional science fair, a neuroscience professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden became interested in their research, and is planning to recreate their work in the lab. A similar study was conducted in the Netherlands by Wageningen University that exposed 20 ash trees to different types of radiation over three months. The trees selected to withstand Wi-Fi signals were shown to exhibit signs of sickness including a “lead-like” shine on their leaves.
Beginning with a basic concern, the students were able to design an elegantly simple experiment that not only helped to demonstrate the strength of the scientific method, but to take the first step towards answering a health issue. Maybe tonight, you might opt to move the cellphone and router to the living room?
Images via Kim Horsevad from Hjallerup School