Effect of RF-EMF on Growth of Lepidium Sativum
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How and to what extent do radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), emitted by Wi-Fi routers, affect the growth of Lepidium Sativum?
In February 2013, a group of ninth-grade students from Hjallerup School in Denmark conducted an investigation which arose from the fact that when having their cell-phones switched on and next to them at night, the young researchers struggled to sleep as well as concentrate during school hours.
The students suspected that the radiation emitted by the mobile phones was the cause of the issue, though insufficient resources made it impossible to test accurately their hypothesis. It was found that mobile phones (emitting from 450MHz to 2700MHz) project radiofrequencies (RF) similar to those of house-hold Wi-Fi routers (world-wide band of 2.4 GHz) which hence became a satisfactory substitution in the investigation whilst garden cress (Lepidium sativum) became the remaining test subject. The methodology behind the investigation included that of spreading approximately 4800 cress seeds across twelve trays; six of which were exposed to RF-EMF produced by a Wi-Fi router in one room, whilst the remaining six trays were placed in a room with no radiation. After twelve days of exposure, the first six trays of cress had withered and died, whilst the other 6 flourished, sparking wide controversy and skepticism among “leading biologists and radiation experts”.
It was this experiment that left me questioning whether these results were fair and possible. I decided to conduct a similar experiment under controlled conditions.
According to a recent article on the Huffington Post which featured “50 incredible Wi-Fi Tech Statistics that businesses must know”, it was found that the number of mobile phones exceeded the world’s population at the end of 2013, that in the course of the following three years, seven billion new devices will be “Wi-Fi-enabled” and that mobile devices are used by 38% of 2-year-old infants. Both mobile phones and Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as the average household router, make use of RF-EMF (radiofrequency electromagnetic waves), which have of late been a growing health concern. In fact, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO IARC) deemed EMF as a possible carcinogen in humans in June 2001 at a scientific panel after a connection was found between EMF contact exceeding 4mG and a risk increase of 50% in leukaemia in young children. Other studies also indicate a link between RF exposure and that of male infertility, expressing that “keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility”. The consistent findings from these late studies leave one with an imminent concern for personal safety and investigation.
Lepidium sativum, more commonly known as garden cress or peppergrass, is featured as part of the Brassicaceae family along with many other piquant plants. Salads, soups and sandwiches make use of garden cress and in Europe it is grown industrially; primarily in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France and Britain.
“The main activity of a plant seedling is growth. During early development, growth is mainly longitudinal, so that a simple measurement of length reveals much about the growth processes. For this reason, plant seedlings have been widely used to study the effects of radiation on growth.” - Henry Quastler, M.D.
The seeds of Lepidium sativum are reddish-tan in colour and reliable during the germination process, during which the cotyledons are divided into three parts. The species is also a reliable choice for experimentation due to its fast growth, in which maximum growth can take anywhere from ten to fourteen days.
The original experiment carried out by the Danish students featured only six of the trays exposed to RF radiation, next to a Wi-Fi router, while the other six were not. It was speculated by local scientists that the heat emitted by the router may have been the cause of the dead cress. In order for a controlled experiment to be undertaken, the only uncontrolled variable needed to be the RF-EMF themselves since this would be the object of study. I conducted a rough trial of the experiment, a pilot study; to determine the investigations viability.
Small alterations of the original experiment were made, these included: the use of only single trays for each room rather than six and the use of approximately 3000 seeds of Lepidium sativum in each tray and the use of Wi-Fi extenders, rather than routers. The use of Wi-Fi extenders did not compromise the RF that would typically be produced by a router. Furthermore, the extenders were assembled in both rooms, except the Wi-Fi was only switched on in one extender; this made the trial fair due to the fact that equal heat would be emitted from both routers.
Although the Lepidium sativum was fully developed within five to six days, the experimental variable exposed to the Wi-Fi emissions showed that after a full twelve days had withered and died over a large area (see image 1) in comparison to the controlled variable (see image 2). The results of this rough trial were intriguing enough to fully re-investigate the experiment.
The aim of this investigation is to assess how and to what extent do radiofrequencies emitted by Wi-Fi extenders affect the growth of the plant Lepidium sativum from germination to maximum growth by examining daily progression of the seeds in the form of height measurements.
I predict that the growth of the garden cress in exposure to the Wi-Fi extenders will be inhibited by the radiofrequencies that are produced. This is reasoned by the pilot study carried out prior to this investigation which indicated that the development was negatively affected on a significantly large area of the radiated cress.
- Atmospheric pressure (fluctuated due to weather conditions but were consistent with both experimental and control variables at an average of 101.6 kPa)
- Temperature at room temperature
- Radiofrequency emission at 2.4GHz
- Linear growth of Lepidium savitum
 "European Acclaim for Grade 9 Experiment."DR. N.p., 17 May 2013. Web. 13 Aug. 2014
 World Health Organisation (WHO) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/
 “European Acclaim for Grade 9 Experiment."DR. N.p., 17 May 2013. Web. 13 Aug. 2014
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