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Wi-Fi could be harmful to trees, cause bleeding and bark tears, study says

November 23, 2010 |  5:59 pm

WageningenUR

Wi-Fi signals could be responsible for health problems in trees, leading to bark tears, prematurely dead leaves and bleeding, according to a study by Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

The studyinto the effects of radiomagnetic radiation on plantlife came about after officials in the Dutch city of Alphen aan den Rijn saw abnormalities in trees that couldn't be explained by any virus or bacterial strain 5 years ago, according to a PC World article on the research.

Researchers exposed 20 ash trees to various radiation sources for a period of three months. Trees placed closest to Wi-Fi networks produced a "lead-like shine" on their leaves that was caused by the decay of the outer-cell layers of the leaves, PC World reported. Eventually, the leaves died.

The study also found that Wi-Fi could stunt the growth of corn cobs, the magazine reported online.

Wageningen University said on its website that the findings were only initial results and that more research needs to be done to confirm the study and determine long-term effects. 

The university also said it would like to conduct its tests on a larger number of plants.

The trees used in the study were exposed for more than three months to six sources of radiation with frequencies ranging from 2412 to 2472 megahertz, the university said online.

The study also found that trees throughout the Western world had similarly unexplained problems such as bark tears and premature leaf death, according to PC World.

About 70% of all trees in the Netherlands' urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10% five years ago, the study found.

Other than electromagnetic fields generated by cellular networks and Wi-Fi networks, microscopic particles from automobile emissions that can pass through tree bark could also be responsible for urban health problems in trees, according to PC World.

Trees in densely forested areas rarely had the same problems as their urban counterparts, PC world reported.

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--Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Image: A screen shot of a summary of the Wageningen University study on the effects of Wi-Fi radiation on trees.

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