Five ninth-grade students at the Hjallerup School in Denmark set out to test the effects of the radiation emitted by cellular phones on garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds. For their experiment, they placed six trays of the seeds next to two routers, which were calculated to emit approximately the same type of radiation as one cell phone. Six more trays were kept in a room without any routers.
After a 12-day period, the students found that while the seeds in the radiation and router-free room grew into healthy plants, the seeds placed near the routers did not grow, and some of the seeds had a withered appearance. The students were awarded with high honors at a science competition in their area for their project.
reportedly hypothesized that the heat from the routers may have dried out the seeds, which would have required additional water to grow.
The students stated that the idea for their experiment came from the observation that they had difficulty concentrating at school if they slept with their cell phones near their heads the previous night. Indeed, some research has found that sleeping too close to a cell phone can negatively affect sleep quality.
Statistics compiled in 2013 by the Pew Research Center found that 78 percent of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 own cell phones. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the use of cell phones may be “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.
cell phoneWhile studies regarding the effect of these devices on human health are still ongoing, the ninth-graders’ experiment offers a word of caution that overuse of cell phones – and especially prolonged proximity to them – may be more dangerous than we think.