When officials in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands began noticing unexplained abnormalities on trees, they were worried that the damage did not come from natural causes.
There were concerns that cracks, discoloration, tissue deterioration and other problems stemmed from radiation fueled by area Wi-Fi networks.
The town commissioned Wagenigen University to conduct a study to determine the source. The study concluded that radiation from Wi-Fi networks may have negatively impacted the health of nearby plants.
Three months of research found outbreaks of bleeding bark and dying leaves on a large number of Ash trees and a slower rate of growth in corn plants near area hotspots.
Leaves within 50 to 300 centimeters of a 100 milliwatt, 2412-2472 megahertz radiation source showed “a metallic luster appearance, a discoloration of the leaves that appeared to result in the disappearance of the outer cell layer of the leaves. The metallic luster was followed by desiccation and death of a portion of the leaf.”
The Dutch Antenna Agency indicated that the same adverse effects have not been found on other species of trees and that the abnormalities discovered on the trees at Alphen aan den Rijn may have simply come from disease.
A repeat study did not determine the same conclusions. While scientists found the study to be inconclusive and further research is expected, the full report will be under discussion at a February 2011 conference.