Are Wi-Fi signals killing your plants?

It might not be your brown thumb. Plants placed too close to routers or mobile devices seem to get sick quickly.

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A few months ago when I upgraded my home network, I moved two wireless routers and a NAS to my living room--to the corner when I have a "corn plant" or Dracaena Massangeana, a plant with sturdy canes said to tolerate neglect. I'm testimony to that plant's hardiness, since other plants seem to wither as soon as I bring them into my home, but this one has thrived for years in this spot. After surrounding the plant with Wi-Fi devices, though, it's surely been looking sicker, with only a few leaves left fighting.

Coincidence? Maybe not. A science experiment by a group of Danish 9th-graders suggests the radiation from the Wi-Fi routers may be to blame.

In the five girls' biology experiment, 400 cress seeds were divided into 12 trays and placed into two rooms with the same temperature, sunlight, and watering conditions. Half of the trays, however, were set in a room along with two routers. After 12 days of observation and measurement, the results were obvious: The seeds in the router room not only didn't grow, some mutated and died.

This experiment wasn't done in a controlled, professional environment, so you can take it with a huge grain of salt. However, as ABC News points out, a similar experiment conducted by Wageningen University associated heavy Wi-Fi signals with tree sickness.

We won't know for sure until this science experiment is repeated for scientific thoroughness, but since there's no harm in it, I'm going to just move my sad, Charlie Brown-ish tree to another room. If you have a plant you care about too, you might want to distance your Wi-Fi routers and mobile devices from it, just in case.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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