There has been a long debate on the potential dangers our constant use of technology could have on our health. As cell phones and computers become normalized products for us to own, people are questioning more and more the effects of these devices that are found in almost every American household.
Five high school students decided to tackle this issue after noticing they struggled to pay attention in school by creating an experiment for their biology class that’s being admired by researchers around the globe. The girls decided to focus on handheld devices as the potential culprit. “We all think we have experienced difficulty concentrating in school if we had slept with the phone next to our head, and sometimes also experienced having difficulty sleeping,” explains student Lea Nielsen, one of the girls who contributed to the experiment.
So, the high school students decided to take 400 cress seeds and separate them into 12 separate containers. All the containers were kept in the exact same environment; the same room, at the same temperature, with the same amount of water. The only difference was six of the containers were placed next to a Wi-Fi router, which emits the same type of radiation as a regular cellphone. After just 12 days, the students were shocked by the results.
Now consider just how often we’re exposed to Wi-Fi. Roughly 9 out of 10 Americans own a cellphone and nearly two-thirds own a smartphone. Recent research from the U.S. government shows that almost 43% of adults live in a cellphone-only household – and the use of landlines continues to decrease. And then there’s the reality that Americans’ cellphones are generally with them and rarely turned off. Think about it. How often do you willingly leave your cell phone at home when you step out? How often do you have your cell phone in your hand, pocket or sitting nearby even when you are at home? Nine out of ten cellphone owners say they “frequently” carry their phone with them, 6% say they “occasionally” have their phones with them, 3% say they only “rarely” have their cellphones with them and just 1% of cellphone owners say they “never” have their phone with them. So now that we’ve confirmed how often we’re around handheld devices, how often do we consider if they’re potentially affecting our health? Below are the unaffected cress seeds.
The cress seeds that were kept as far away as possible from the Wi-Fi router grew healthy and green. The seeds next to the router, however… were mostly dead or mutated. They did not grow at all. “It is truly frightening that there is so much affect, so we were very shocked by the result,” says the student involved in the experiment, Lea Nielsen. The girls’ experiment concludes that Wi-Fi radiation can expose your body to elements that will greatly affect your health.
Karolinska Institute Professor Olle Johansson of Stockholm says he and his team are going to repeat the experiment with his colleagues to study the conclusions even further, calling the girls’ experiment brilliant: “The girls stayed within the scope of their knowledge, skilfully implemented and developed a very elegant experiment. The wealth of detail and accuracy is exemplary, choosing cress was very intelligent,” says Johansson.
Lea Nielsen admits that the girls were so alarmed by the results that it affected their personal lives. “None of us sleep with the mobile next to the bed anymore. Either the phone is put far away, or it is put in another room. And the computer is always off,” says Nielsen.
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