Is wi-fi radiation killing off trees? Study blames computer signals for dying leaves.
As if our magnificent trees didn’t have enough problems, they’re now being threatened by our emails.
When they’re not being assailed by some foreign bug or moth, there’s often a council official looking for an excuse to cut them down.
Now researchers say radiation from wi-fi networks that enable our burgeoning online communications may be their latest enemy.
The Dutch scientists carried out their research on ash trees which had been suffering with bark bleeding and dying leaves.
Trees planted close to a wireless router had bleeding bark and dying leaves, according to the study in Holland.
The revelation will raise fears that wi-fi radiation may also be having an effect on the human body and supports parents who have campaigned to stop wireless routers being installed in schools.
The city of Alphen aan den Rijn, in the Netherlands, ordered the study after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees. Researchers took 20 ash trees and for three months exposed them to six sources of radiation.
Trees placed closest to the wi-fi source developed a ‘lead-like shine’ on their leaves that was caused by the upper and lower epidermis – the leaf’s skin – dying.
Researchers also discovered that wi-fi radiation could slow the growth of corn cobs.
The study was commissioned by officials from the Dutch town of Alphen aan den Rijn
In the Netherlands, 70 per cent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with 10 per cent five years ago, the study found. Trees in densely forested areas are not affected.
The Wageningen University scientists behind the research, which has not yet been published, said that further studies were needed to confirm their findings.
The Dutch health agency issued a statement, stressing that ‘these are
initial results and that they have not been confirmed in a repeat survey’.
It added: ‘There are no far-reaching conclusions from its results. Based on the information now available it cannot be concluded that the wi-fi radio signals leads to damage to trees or other plants.’
Other scientists have expressed scepticism. Marvin Ziskin, a professor of radiology and medical physics at Temple University in Philadelphia, said: ‘Stuff like this has been around a long time. There’s nothing new about wi-fi emissions. Scientifically there’s no
evidence to support that these signals are a cause for concern.’
The study is to be the subject of a conference in Holland in February.
In 2007, a BBC Panorama documentary found that radiation levels from wi-fi in one school was up to three times the level of mobile phone mast radiation. However, the readings were 600 times below government safety limits.