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If Plants Won’t Grow Near WiFi Routers, What are WiFi Routers Doing to Us?

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plants wifi An alarming science experiment recently generated a great deal of international media attention, and has raised a number of questions and concerns. In this experiment, the researchers found that seeds planted near WiFi routers would not grow. All the attention and interest surrounding this experiment may lead one to believe it was a major study by a renowned organization, but surprisingly, the researchers in this experiment were a group of Danish ninth-grade students and their teacher.

The Experiment

The concept for the experiment originated after five girls from Hjallerup Skole, a school in Denmark, noticed that they had trouble focusing on days after they slept with their cell phones near their heads overnight.  In an effort to evaluate this phenomenon, they tested the effects that two WiFi routers had on plant seeds.  The routers were chosen with the intention to roughly mimic the levels and types of radiation given off by the girls’ cell phones.  To test this effect against a control group, six trays of seeds were placed next to the two routers, and another six trays were placed in a room without any routers.  At the end of their twelve day experiment, the seeds in the room without routers had grown into healthy plants, but the seeds near the routers had not grown at all, and several seeds appeared brown and withered.


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There is much debate about the value of the study.  The fact that it was performed by students, and not scientists in a well-controlled environment, clearly warrants caution and fuels criticism.  Some scientists have speculated that the heat from the routers may have dried out the seeds, but the girls reportedly kept the seeds’ soil moist throughout the experiment, and regulated the room temperature with a thermostat.  Other researchers have gone as far as to state that the girls’ experiment may be representative of the dangers that cell phones, WiFi routers, and similar sources of radiation may have on human health.  Much more research is required to formulate any valid conclusions, but the experiment has raised legitimate concerns, and the results warrant further scientific exploration.

Limit Your Exposure

Given the uncertainty of the effects of such radiation, and the prevalence and necessity of cell phones and WiFi routers, it is difficult to entirely remove oneself from this potential risk.  Nevertheless, precautionary steps can be taken to protect yourself and limit your level of exposure.  Actions such as keeping cell phones away from your head at night, and generally limiting your cell phone usage may be helpful.  Likewise, carefully considering the placement of WiFi routers, and ideally keeping them at a reasonable distance, may accomplish this goal.  While the effects of radiation from these everyday items remain unclear, taking simple precautions can help to reduce your exposure and risk.


Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.


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30 responses to “If Plants Won’t Grow Near WiFi Routers, What are WiFi Routers Doing to Us?”

  1. Jose Cuervo says:

    Better living through technology…..right???

  2. Linda Joyner says:

    If this is true for cell phones, what about phones that are VOIP (voice over IP)?

    • Attila says:

      The problem seems to be the EMF which is mostly generated from transmission of radio frequencies. If your internet connected device is several feet from you while you are using VOIP there will be little exposure.

  3. Marilyn Vandekieft says:

    If you have any questions about EMFs, cell phone radiation, etc., go to:
    http://www.electricsense.com/
    This website was begun by Lloyd Burrell, who became sick from EMFs, and wants the world to know just how harmful all of this technology is. Yes, some people are more sensitive than others, but we are all surrounded every day by EMFs and none of us know what harm can come to us eventually because of our exposure to them. Lloyd also gives some protective solutions.

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  5. Olive says:

    Wow…how about having your cell phone turned on and by your ear all night partially wakes you up with all the incoming email/text/message alerts all night? Those sounds will definitely disturb your sleep pattern (even if you don’t wake up fully and acknowledge them.)

    Questionable conclusion at best.

  6. John Sprague says:

    Let me start with the disclaimer “My opinion and $1.49 will buy you a coffee most anywhere except Starbucks.” Electromagnetic radiation is dangerous. At high energy levels it will kill or severely burn you instantly. The effects at low energy levels is not well understood and much research is needed to determine the effects on the long term effects on the human body. 53 years of working in the electrical field has taught me to be cautious when working around any electrical device and RF emitters in particular. My experience with radio frequency transmitters has taught me to respect them like a rattlesnake. You only get bit if you venture too close. Cell phones, routers and similar RF emitting devices may or may not be harmful but any device that emits radiation directly into the brain should be approached with caution. I cringe when I see people walking around with Bluetooth devices clinging to their ear just inches from their brain. In my opinion they are just uninformed human guinea pigs oblivious to the potential danger of these devices. Go ahead and ignore the warnings but do you really want to take the chance of developing brain cancer 20 to 30 years down the road just when you are ready to enjoy your retirement?

    • Becky says:

      My router is on the floor next to my feet where I spend about 8 hours a day on the computer. I do not have a fancy phone, just a plain tracphone that stays in a drawer or in my purse. Do you think I am safe from RF?

      • RichP says:

        You might consider shielding your router from you with a screen of conductive metal. Use a hardwire connection to your computer, if possible.

        • Matt Hunt says:

          great idea! might as well just unplug the wifi router and toss it in the trash. Some metal screen will block the signal from the router too, making it pretty useless. But a hardwired connection is always better, they are usually far faster.

          • Coretz says:

            Nooooo don’t throw it away I want to play with it! See I’ve been wanting to do some home experiments that could ruin my router, and I don’t have money to throw away… If you feel generous I’d love to take it off your hands! Just shoot me an email at e.i4is92g. It’s a google address. (I’m hoping by splitting the address up I can defeat bots, who knows?)

            Thanks!

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  8. Eliyahu says:

    When I moved a lot of my plants indoors from the patio this winter, I kept them in the room with my router, wifi setup and server. They all flourished.

  9. leslie parker says:

    I do not know why the seeds planted by these students failed to grow, but it had nothing to do with their wifi routers. The router in my house is located in a room dominated by plants- all of which are thriving and in perfect health.
    These girls need to look elsewhere to find for an explanation for their brown thumbs!!!

  10. Jon Alimon says:

    Utter rubbish. My wifi router is surrounded by plants, half of which I grew from seeds – the router is in pretty much the best place for plants in my apartment, and the plants hide the router and its ugly cables. Science? No.

  11. MarkH says:

    I’m sure the students meant well, but as science their experiment was awful. There could be so many differences between the two groups of plants (and the rooms they were in) other than the electronic equipment!!!

    There are many ways to do the experiment better. Just one example would be to repeat their experiment multiple times, some with the router on, and other times with the router disconnected from power.

    Anyone who could get _repeatable results_ concerning something like this has a good chance to win the Nobel prize, worth millions of dollars!

  12. Jeff (electrical engineer) says:

    This has got to be the most idiotic thing I’ve read all week, and that’s saying something. The headline should be “Science Illiterate Web Writer Grasping at Straws”. This guy should be embarrassed to have his picture next to this article. A useful article would be about the corrupt media and political groups using school children in their agitprop. Were the children being taught about experimental method, or were the teacher and school behind the propaganda from the start?

    Cell phones and WiFi transmitters (not necessarily routers) have been around for many years now. The hysteria over possible health effects has also been around for many years, and many actual scientists with actual knowledge of physics, anatomy, medicine and test methodology have conducted countless studies without anyone finding significant negative effects from the low power RF energy typical of cell phones and consumer devices. Governments, large corporations, and universities have been spending many millions of dollars on studies. But this Einstein wants to give credence to some school girls’ homework assignment?

    “There is much debate about the value of the study.”

    Really? Actually, there is no debate because this is a completely worthless experiment. Hopefully the teacher used this assignment to teach the 9th grade students a little about design of experiments, statistical significance, confounding factors, etc. and not the use of bogus science for propaganda. We have enough of that already, apparently right here.

    • detaildumb says:

      Hum! evidently you na-sayers and armchair scientist didn’t read the part about wifi affecting seeds NOT PLANTS that are already growing! Sound vibrations do help plans grow. like music… rf is just a different frequency of music that we can’t hear!

      • detaildumb says:

        I want each of you that believe that wifi routers harmless to do the following….

        Take your router and place it 1-3 feet from your head where you sit for hours watching reality tv…. now while it is on, it has to be active the entire time to experience the rf headache… easiest way to make a rotuer really active is to download movies or Netflix just get the data rate up to 500kb and higher and keep it above that speed..

        do it for 2 hours minimum everyday! enjoy your cancer u won’t get from these routers.

        arrogance and ignorance = smart idiots

        • RichP says:

          Cancer generally takes years or decades to develop. That is why controlled experiments are expensive, along with the fact that with other causes of cancer, the statistical database to reach 95% confidence is very large.

  13. Ronin says:

    A network administrator I used to work with left the IT Field because he noticed that anyone who works with routers and switches along with WiFi don’t live long. Most get cancer.

    And for those who have posted that their plants flourished in rooms with their WiFi, not all WiFi devices are the same. Some leak more than others. All studies point to EMF being harmful and those in the IT Industry who pay attention can see it.

  14. Joseph says:

    Regarding: ” The fact that it was performed by students, and not scientists in a well-controlled environment, clearly warrants caution and fuels criticism. ” to:

    The fact that it was not performed scientists in a well-controlled environment, clearly warrants caution and fuels criticism of the scientific community. (Or HAVE they studied this?)

  15. KJ says:

    This is literally the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Nonionizing radiation (Wifi Routers, Cell Phones, Radio Waves) by definition are harmless, except at very high powers (like a radio antenna) and very close (like within a few meters) to an active antenna – even then the threat becomes resonance in body parts, which is simply solved by moving away. Go read up on non-ionizing radiation. It’s been studied for years and it’s perfectly safe.

  16. Luke says:

    If they properly followed the Scientific Method then the experiment can be replicated for testing.

  17. JJ says:

    “noticed that they had trouble focusing on days after they slept with their cell phones near their heads”-this had NOTHING to do with the fact that they are up late playing farmville on their iphones…

  18. Max says:

    Wow, so some schoolgirls did a science fair project? Clearly this is a hard hitting study, I’m going out to get a tinfoil hat immediately!

  19. Jon Weiss says:

    The message here is “Don’t put plants near routers”. . . . as if this were a widespread problem.

    The same logic is valid in reverse, don’t put routers near plants! . . . why???

    Because people are inherently sloppy, and water plays hell with live electrical circuits too.

  20. Jon Weiss says:

    Did anyone check to see if the kids watered the plants next to the router?

  21. Andreas Debus says:

    Another worthless junk science article about the dangers of low level “radiation” aka electromagnatic waves aka light aka photons.
    The danger of “radiation” depends on the frequency and energy density of electromagnetic fields.
    I wonder why people get so agitated about “dangerous” levels of cell phone or 50Hz 110V(230V) mains “radiation” but walk naked in the sun for hours burning their skin or even pay for a sunburn at the local “tanning studio” aka skin cancer provider.
    Humans are uninformed, miseducated or plain crazy.

  22. Matt Hunt says:

    Brilliant scientific investigation here. “The routers were chosen with the intention to roughly mimic the levels and types of radiation given off by the girls’ cell phones. ” That’s not how scientific experiments work. “Roughly mimic” is not good enough. Wifi routers operate at 2.4 / 5Ghz. Most cell phones operate at 900, 1800, and 1900Mhz (.9, 1.8, and 1.9 Ghz). Most phones can also transmit 2.4, but very few routers transmit on cellular frequencies…only ones that built to have GSM redundancy.

    And no link to this research, so all of this is anecdotal. The BEST is the link for the “radiation blocking cell phone case”…if the case is actually effective, your cell phone wouldn’t work.