A science experiment completed by a group of ninth graders in Denmark is gaining worldwide interest from biologists and radiation experts, and may lead to a change in how we view wireless devices in the home.
Five girls—Lea Nielsen, Mathilde Nielsen, Signe Nielsen, Sisse Coltau and Rikke Holm—from Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark, began the experiment after suspecting cell phones may be the cause for why they had difficulty concentrating in school.
“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,” Lea Nielsen, one of the five researchers, said.
The effects of mobile phone radiation on human health has been the subject of recent interest and study with the increase in global mobile phone usage. Completed in 2012, the Interphone project—the largest study of its kind to date—identified no solid link between mobile phones and brain tumours, but suggested that further research was required to examine long-term heavy use of mobile phones. Other studies have produced also conclusions with varying degrees of certainty regarding the effects of cell phone radiation on human body.
Because the school did not have the equipment to test the effects of mobile radiation on humans, the girls instead devised an experiment using cress seeds and Wi-Fi routers. Six trays of cress seeds were placed in a room with no radiation, while another six trays were placed in a different room near two routers emitting approximately the same type of radiation emitted by mobile phones. After a period of 12 days, the girls determined that while the cress seeds not exposed to radiation grew normally, the seeds exposed to radiation from the routers appeared less healthy than the other group—in fact, they did not grow at all. The experiment secured the five girls a place in the “Young Researchers” competition.
Several researchers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden have already shown interest in the research project, according to Danish News site DR. Among them is Professor Olle Johanson of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Germany, who is considering the possibility of repeating the project with Professor Marie-Claire Cammaert of the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.
“Within the limitations of their understanding and ability, the girls have carried out and documented a very elegant piece of work. The wealth of detail and precision is exemplary, the choice of the right cress is very intelligent, and I could go on,” Johanson told DR.
Readers: Do you think there a link between the Wi-Fi router experiment and the negative health effects of radiation? Do you feel that mobile radiation is a legitimate health risk?