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					The Effects of Wireless Internet Router Radiation on Mortality Rates of Darkling Beetles

                                  A Biology Paper
                                     Presented to
               Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium
                           University of Missouri-St. Louis

                                  Kyle V. Gulshen
                               Camdenton High School
                                   P.O. Box 1409
                                Camdenton MO 65052

                           January 21, 2009 – July 26, 2009

                                   Mr. Chris Reeves
                              Science Research Instructor
                                Linn Creek, MO 65052
NAME:                               Kyle Gulshen
HOME ADDRESS:                       P.O. Box 1409
                                    Camdenton, MO 65020
SCHOOL:                             Camdenton R-III Schools
SPONSOR/TEACHER:                    Mr. Bart Gulshen
TITLE:                              The Effects of Wireless Router Electromagnetic Radiation on
                                    Darkling Beetle Mortality

In the information age, wireless routers have become common items in many households.
However, these widespread commodities have caused some concern with regard to their safety.
Although many studies seem to give clear results, they have conflicting conclusions. Some
studies may state that wireless router radiation can cause a variety of health complications, while
others may conclude that routers are completely harmless. This confusion may be inhibiting
some from using a harmless and useful tool, while it may be letting many people suffer from the
harms the device imposes. It is therefore advantageous to know the safety of these increasingly
present technologies with certainty.

This study examines the effect of wireless router electromagnetic radiation on the mortality rate
of the Tenebrio molitor species through the different stages of development. This study contained
two groups; a controlled group unexposed to radiation, and an experimental group continuously
exposed to the radiation emitted from a router. Each group contained six subgroups, which
contained 20 darkling beetles. Each subgroup had a weekly population survey, including
number, mass, and stage of development.

It was determined that the wireless internet router radiation did not have any significant effect on
mortality rates of darkling beetles, darkling beetles mass, or rate of development.



Purpose                                                  3

Hypothesis                                               4

Independent and Dependant Variables                      5

Introduction                                             6-8

Method                                               9-10

Discussion of Results                                11-13

Graphical Analysis                                   14-17

Attachments                                          18-19

Statistical Analysis                                     20

Conclusion                                               21

Future Studies                                           22

Acknowledgements                                         23

Bibliography                                             24


The purpose of this study was to determine:

    1. The effects of non-thermal electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless internet routers.

In order to:

        i. Test the safety of the usage of wireless internet routers and other wireless technologies


It was hypothesized that:

       1. Electromagnetic radiation emitted from a wireless internet router at levels below
          current standards will increase mortality rates in Darkling Beetles in the experimental

                       Independent and Dependant Variables:

Independent Variable: Presence of electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless internet router

Dependant Variable: Mortality rate of Darkling Beetles

Constants: Temperature, amount of food, amount of water, amount of light, origin of Darkling


         In today’s world, electronics dominate daily life, many using wireless technologies. All

of these wireless devices are emitting some sort of electromagnetic radiation. Many televisions,

radios, cell phones, and wireless internet routers emit large amounts of electromagnetic radiation,

each operating on a different frequency level. The frequencies these devices emit are all located

in the non-ionizing radiofrequency range. When looking at the electromagnetic spectrum

(attachment 1 and attachment 2), an internet router, operating at 2.4 GHz, varies just .05 GHz

from microwaves emitted from the standard microwave oven. The controversy, then, lies in the

danger of certain radiofrequencies of electromagnetic radiation.

Current Standards

         A large number of national and international groups are studying this issue, and many

have established standards and guidelines for the safe use of devices emitting non-ionizing

radiofrequency radiation. In some countries such as the United States no specific standards have

been issued, however international guidelines are generally accepted (FCC 1999). The

International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation, in association with the World Health

Organization and the International Radiation Protection Association, sets some of the most

comprehensive guidelines, and includes guidelines for individual governments (ICNIRP 2009).

These guidelines have been created to restrict power levels and frequency ranges which have

been proven to cause temperature increase and, when following these guidelines, no negative

health effects related to thermal increases have been identified (Gustaves 2008, and ICNIRP


Electromagnetic Radiation Does Not Cause Adverse Health Effects When Current

Standards are Maintained

       Many studies have been unable to identify any negative health effects linked to radiation

levels kept below current standards (Gustaves 2008). Organizations such as the World Health

Organization conclude that electromagnetic radiation has been found to cause no adverse health

effects whatsoever, long or short term, as long as the current standards on electromagnetic

radiation are maintained (WHO 2010). The Office of Engineering & Technology in the Federal

Communications Commission also found no thermal effects linked to radiation levels meeting

the standard.

Electromagnetic Radiation Causes Health Problems and Current Standards Do Not

Protect the Public

       While many of the previously mentioned studies have found no effects related to thermal

increases, some newer studies have linked low level non-ionizing radiation to non-thermal health

effects, such as carcinogenic effects and other genetic mutations (CSTEE 2001). Also, studies

suggest that all of the legally binding exposure levels overlook many factors such as the rate of

change and transient activity in electromagnetic fields, low-frequency or pulsing frequency

components, or interference in RF radiation, all of which have been shown to impact living

organisms (Gustaves 2008, Philips 2004). Electromagnetic radiation may also cause

chromosome irregularities, breakage of DNA strands, reduce melatonin, and impairment of the

immune system (CSTEE 2001)

       With the popularity of wireless technology today, even minor health effects can pose a

major health problem, as it would affect many people (FCC 1999). Clearly, the safety of devices

emitting electromagnetic radiation, such as wireless internet routers, needs to be conclusively

identified and standards need to be set accordingly.


In order to gain continuous exposure to levels of radiofrequency radiation at power levels below

standards, I arranged to use an undisturbed area in the school library exposed to radiation

emitting from a wireless internet router for my experimental group. The control group was

placed in a similar location far from the router. A technology administrator for the school district

was contacted to verify a strong exposure to the experimental group, as well as no exposure in

the control group.

Apparatus Design

240 live darkling beetles (Tenebrio molitor) were purchased from the Carolina Biological

Supply. They were then distributed equally among 12 jars, 20 beetles per jar. Each jar was given

100 grams of wheat flakes for food, 50 g of rice to keep liquid waste absorbed, and 9 grams of

potato for a source of water. The potato was replaced each week. Both experiment and control

groups were placed in similar temperatures. Both groups were undisturbed for the duration of the

project, except during data collection. A 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g Linksys Wireless-G Broadband

router (model number WRT54GL) operating at 18dBm (below the suggested 30dBm level) was

used in this experiment (see attachment 3). The wireless internet router was functioning 24 hours

a day for the duration of the project.

Darkling Beetles

Darkling beetles were used in this experiment to test for the non-thermal health effects imposed

by levels of radiation below the standard. Darkling beetles were cost-efficient, easily maintained,

biological indicators which provided the added benefit of undergoing increased cellular division

in a time of metamorphosis. Metamorphosis provided a window in which any cellular damage

occurring at the time would rapidly replicate, and become apparent as either a mutation or result

in death.

Data Collection

Every week, each of the twelve jars was emptied onto a large piece of cardboard. The contents

were sifted through by hand, and darkling beetles were carefully scooped up and separated into

four different categories: larva, pupa, adult, and deceased. In rare instances, no remains of

deceased darkling beetles could be located, even after extensive searching. In this case, the

missing beetle was recorded as missing and, in each case; further search the next week concluded

a deceased darkling beetle. The larva, pupa, and adult categories were then counted and massed

individually. The deceased were kept for later reference. The number of living darkling beetles

was recorded (separated by stage of development), the mass of each stage was recorded, and the

total mass of each jar was recorded. This process was repeated for a total of sixteen weeks, from

March 3, 2009 to June 26, 2009, in which all living darkling beetles were developed to


                                     Discussion of Results

Overall Population Decline:

The population of all living darkling beetles in each jar in control and experimental groups was

added to get the total population of each group. While the population in the experimental group

began to decline first, the rate of decline was similar to the rate of decline in the control

population, and at the end of the experiment the populations were nearly identical. The

experimental group decline is attributed to a slight difference in developmental rates (see larva

population division) and a higher rate of death in the transition from larva to pupa. Therefore the

difference in population decline was insignificant. (Figure 1)

Populations Divided Into Stages:

Populations of each group were broken up to show the rate of development in each stage.


The experimental larvae began to pupate sooner than control data. The difference is attributed to

a possible slight temperature increase in the experimental group. Overall, no significant

difference was present. (Figure 2)


Pupal populations rose as more larvae pupated, and populations declined as pupa transitioned

into adults, resulting in an expected bell curve trend. There was no significant difference between

control and experimental groups. (Figure 3)


Adult populations rose as more darkling beetles reached maturity. Although a spike was

observed later in the experimental group, there was no substantial statistical difference.

(Figure 4)


Mass was monitored as a further indication of any biological effects imposed by router radiation.

Masses were compared by stage, as darkling beetles were found to weigh differently in each

stage, and the average mass of the living darkling beetle population was compared.


In the larva stage, a general increase in mass in both groups is attributed to an increase in food,

and a majority of the population nearing pupation. No significant difference was present.

(Figure 5)


The pupal mass changed little, and the averages were identical for the first ten weeks of the

experiment. No significant difference was observed. (Figure 6)


Adult masses remained relatively unchanged, except for a small spike in experimental mass. No

significant difference was present. (Figure 7)

Mortality Rates:

The mortality rate was calculated by finding the difference in total population between two

consecutive weeks, and then dividing the total population of the earlier week by that difference.

Mortality rates rose as more larvae pupated, and fell as those larva matured into adulthood. It

was observed that, while most deaths occurred in the pupal stage, transitional periods lead to

more deaths as well. This was observed as a smaller spike in mortality in both the early and later

weeks. No significant difference was observed. (Figure 8)

                                   Graphical Analysis
Figure 1 Comparison of the total populations of control and experimental groups

Standard Deviation                                                                32.76374

Standard Deviation                                                                31.88103

P-value                                                                            0.72473

Figure 2 Comparison of population of larva

Standard Deviation                                                                52.03104

Standard Deviation                                                                49.04539

P-value                                                                            .675269

Figure 3 Comparison of population of pupa

 Standard Deviation                                11.77497

 Standard Deviation                                9.769852

 P-value                                                     1

Figure 4 Comparison of population of adults

 Standard Deviation                                16.4741

 Standard Deviation                                19.12753

 P-value                                           0.69481
Figure 5 Comparison of average mass of larva

 Standard Deviation                                 0.022794

 Standard Deviation                                 0.027689

  P-value                                           0.729872

Figure 6 Comparison of the average mass of pupa

 Standard Deviation                                  .060443

 Standard Deviation                                  .061207

  P-value                                           0.624858

Figure 3 Comparison of average mass of adults

   Standard Deviation                             0.04899

   Standard Deviation                            0.054406

   P-value                                       0.786587

Figure 8 Comparison of mortality rates

 Standard Deviation                               0.075912

 Standard Deviation                               0.064744

  P-value                                         0.884615
Attachment 1

A chart of a section of the electromagnetic scale with various frequencies illustrated

Attachment 2

A chart of the electromagnetic spectrum with various applications of different frequency levels

Attachment 3

A picture of the wireless internet router used in this experiment

                                          Statistical Analysis

Single factor ANOVA was used to determine significance in each comparison.

     Anova: Single Factor

     Mortality Rates

           Groups              Count        Sum        Average       Variance
     control mortality             15     1.037319     0.069155      0.005763
     mortality                       15   0.980729     0.065382      0.004192

     Source of Variation      SS             df           MS             F        P-value   F crit
     Between Groups        0.000107                1   0.000107      0.021448    0.884615 4.195972
     Within Groups         0.139362               28   0.004977

     Total                 0.139468               29

                 control mortality                          experimental mortality

              Mean                         0.069155     Mean                          0.065382
              Standard Error                  0.0196    Standard Error                0.016717
              Median                       0.051724     Median                             0.05
              Mode                                 0    Mode                                  0
              Standard                             Standard
              Deviation                   0.075912 Deviation                         0.064744
              Sample Variance              0.005763     Sample Variance               0.004192
              Kurtosis                     -0.13896     Kurtosis                      1.697353
              Skewness                     0.927217     Skewness                      1.222781
              Range                        0.226667     Range                         0.231707
              Minimum                             0     Minimum                              0
              Maximum                      0.226667     Maximum                       0.231707
              Sum                          1.037319     Sum                           0.980729
              Count                              15     Count                               15
              Confidence                                Confidence
              Level(95.0%)                 0.042039     Level(95.0%)                  0.035854


Based on the results of this study, the following conclusions may be made:

       1. The hypothesis which stated that electromagnetic radiation emitted from a wireless
          internet router at levels below current standards will increase mortality rates in
          Darkling Beetles in the experimental group was not supported.(p > 0.05)

                                       Future Studies

Future studies could include:

       A longer, multigenerational study to examine the effects on future generations

       A study examining the effects of multiple devices operating at different power levels and

       frequencies to determine a presence of a combined effect, and to test a broader range of



Bart Gulshen

       -Provided assistance, advice, and support throughout the project, and aided in weekly

Mr. Chris Reeves, Science Research Instructor

       -Provided assistance and advice for the procedure, and expressed patience when aiding in
       the creation of this paper

Camdenton High School Librarians

       -Provided area for experiment and expressed patience with the presence of “bugs”

Jay Gulshen

       -Aided in weekly surveys and assisted with this paper

Ann Gulshen

       -Patience and review of this paper


(CSTEE) Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment.2001. Possible
     Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), Radio Frequency Fields (RF) and Microwave
     Radiation on Human Health. European Commission Directorate-General Health and
     Consumer Protection [Internet]. Available from:

FCCOET. 1999. Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of
     Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. Federal Communications Commission Office of
     Engineering & Technology [Internet]. Available from:

Gustaves, Katharina. 2008. Options to Minimize Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation
      Exposures (EMF/RF/Static Fields) in Office Environments. Environmental &
      Occupational Health Certificate Program University of Victoria [Internet]. [Cited 2010
      Feb. 09]. Available from:

ICNIRP. 2009. Exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields, biological effects and health
      consequences (100 kHz-300 GHz). International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation
      Protection [Internet]. Available from:

WHO. 2010. Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile telephones and their base stations.
     WorldHealth Organization [Internet]. [Cited 2010 Feb. 09]. Available from:


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