Enjoying reading the latest technology news and reviews here on Crave? Hope you're pleased with yourself, because you're killing a tree. Dutch researchers have discovered the sad news that Wi-Fi makes trees sick.
The tree-loving folks of Dutch city Alphen aan den Rijn commissioned the study after finding abnormalities on trees that couldn't be explained by known viral or bacterial infections. Over the last five years, the study found that all deciduous trees in the western world are affected by radiation from mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs.
Over 70 per cent of trees in urban areas in the Netherlands are afflicted by Wi-Fi sickness, displaying significant variations in growth, and bleeding and fissures in their bark. That's compared with just 10 per cent showing symptoms five years ago. Meanwhile, trees in wooded areas remain happy and healthy, untroubled by wireless unwellness.
We've been debating the health issues raised by Wi-Fi since Crave was knee-high to a router, examining contradictory findings way back in 2007. Since then, there hasn't been any conclusive proof whether Wi-Fi is harmful to humans or not.
The Health Protection Agency states that "there is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affects the health of the general population". A small number of people suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity -- the symptoms of which include headaches and nausea -- but there's some debate about the degree to which those symptoms are actually caused by electromagnetic fields.
Generally speaking, our exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi is well below government safety levels, and much lower than from mobile phones, in part because you don't walk around with a router clamped to your ear. You'd have to live in a Wi-Fi hotspot for a year to absorb the same amount of radio waves as you would from a 20-minute phone call, and there's no concrete evidence that mobile phones are bad for you either. If you're worried, just make yourself a hat out of tin foil.
We like trees an' all, but they're no Internet. There's only one thing for it: we'll just have to launch all the forests into space. Right, time to make like a tree and leave.