Get microwaved while you sleep

I was reminded the other day of the endless discussion about the danger of using mobile phones, with one side declaring that their use would lead to tumours on the brain, and the other [mostly Telcos] that they were harmless, and don’t worry.

English: Cell phone tower near the village of ...

Since the first cell phones the power used in transmission has been greatly reduced lowering the risk, but the nagging thought is still there that were you to use a cell phone as extensively as some do would it still be quite safe long term?

Now something that has caused a great deal of international interest from well-known researchers from England, Sweden, the Netherlands and others is a simple biology experiment of such genius that it has stirred acknowledged biologists and radiation experts.

5 girls in their last year at a school in Northern Jutland [Denmark] wanted to find out if a problem of lack of concentration at school and occasional inability to go to sleep could have anything to do with sleeping with their cell phone by their head. Well, the school did not have equipment for checking radiation so they came up with and created the experiment that has caused the attention.

Lepidium sativum

Lepidium sativum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The recipe was simple enough: Take 12 times 400 Watercress seeds and apportion them into 12 trays. Then place 6 trays in each of 2 rooms with the same temperature, apply the same volume of water and sunshine over 12 days, and not forgetting to expose half of them to mobile radiation.

What they did was to place 6 trays with seeds in one room without radiation and 6 trays in another room next to two routers which according to the project specification would radiate the same amount as an ordinary cell phone. After that it was just a matter of waiting for 12 days, observing, measuring, weighing and photographing day by day.

After 12 days the cress in one room looked like this:

cress no radiation

and in the room with the routers it looked scaringly like this:

cress after radiation

The young researchers earned a prize for their project and the experiment will now be repeated by Professor Olle Johansson at the Karoliska Institutre in Stockholm and by Professor Marie-Claire Cammaert at the Belgian Universitè libre de Bruxelles who see the experiment as elegant and impressive. It will be interesting to see if proper scientific conditions can replicate the results or whether economical factors will sweep these findings under the table once more.

As a consequence of the experiment, however, we recommend that you not go to sleep with your mobile phone by the bed, best placed in another room altogether, and that the computer or tablet is switched off. You could add that some researchers who found no effect from mobile phones may – after this – have a bad taste in the mouth.

I should mention that some years ago a Canadian physics/chemistry Teacher, Larry Oberg, did a similar experiment with green linseeds  using mobile and router radiation and no radiation. His results for the seeds near the router was similar to the Danish girls’ they all died, but the mobile phone radiated seeds did not seem to suffer. Just how scientific any of these experiments are is of course open to debate and only repeated properly controlled environmental conditions can determine complete validity of findings.

Meanwhile, let common sense reign.