Research Paper Claims Radio Waves Affect Aspen Tree Growth

The Boulder County Daily Camera ran an article Sunday describing an experiment conducted by Katie Haggerty in Lyons Colo. that found radio waves have an impact on the health of Aspen trees.

The article said that while Haggerty has "no academic pedigree" her scientific paper on the adverse effects of radio waves on aspen seedlings was published in the International Journal of Forestry Research.

The article notes, "The atmosphere is saturated with radio waves from numerous sources, most of which come from daily life in the modern world. Cell phones, radios, televisions, weather radar, microwave ovens and microwave communications are a few of the devices that emit radio waves."

Haggerty planted a group of aspen seedlings in a shielded Faraday cage, another in a cage wrapped in fiberglass that did not block radio waves, and a third that was completely unprotected. In the article, Haggerty explained the result. "The leaves in the shielded group produced striking fall colors, while the two exposed groups stayed light green or yellow and were affected by areas of dead leaf tissue. The shielded leaves turned red, which was a good sign. The unshielded leaves in both exposed groups had extensive decay, and some leaves fell off while they were still green."

What I find interesting about this is Lyons Colorado is a rural area and there should not be that many strong RF sources in the area. It would be interesting to see Haggerty's experiment repeated in different locations where the actual RF power density is known. The closest broadcast facilities to Lyons are the two tall towers near Fort Lupton, about 30 miles away. One carries three full power DTV stations and the other has several FM radio stations on it.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.