A big European study is underway to determine the long-term health effects of cell phones on users. The bad news is – the results will be known in about two decades.
There is no lack of research on the effects of cell phones on the health of humans. If anything, there is an abundance of literature on this subject. However, much of it is contradictory. Some researchers say that there is cause for concern. Others say there are no reasons to sound the bells of alarm. All in all, there is no conclusive evidence that cell phones cause adverse health effects in humans – or that they do not.
Currently, an international study, named Cosmos, is being conducted in Europe with the ambition to put the dilemma to rest once and for all and to give an unequivocal answer to the question – are cell phones bad for your health, or not? Preliminary trials were conducted in 2008 and the full study was launched in 2010. It will follow a large number of users, at least 200,000, over a long period of time, 20 to 30 years. The research will be carried out in five European countries – UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.
Unlike most other studies completed so far, which focused on brain tumours only, this new study will be monitoring a large range of health risks: brain cancers, salivary gland cancers, skin cancers, leukaemia, cerebrovascular disease (stroke) and neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Cosmos UK site cites a recent report form the British Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR), established in 2000. The report concludes that short term (less than ten years) exposure to mobile phone emissions is not associated with an increase in brain and nervous system cancers, but ads: “However, there are still significant uncertainties that can only be resolved by monitoring the health of a large cohort of phone users over a long period of time.”
The margin for uncertainties is very narrow when we are talking about such a widespread technology that is a part of everyday life for most of us. That is why the Cosmos study has been identified as a priority by many research agencies worldwide, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Having in mind the length of the study, the possible negative results will, obviously, be of more benefit to the future generations than to the current cell phone users. In the meantime, some people, experts and laymen alike, believe that it is better to be safe than sorry. In order to limit the exposure to the electro-magnetic radiation from cell phones, they say, adults should avoid long cell phone conversations. And to those that think this is an overreaction, they point out that some companies already distribute phones with the warning that they should be kept more than three centimetres from the head. Bear that in mind when shopping for your next cell phone on bidorbuy!
In any case, most experts agree that children under eight should not use cell phones under any circumstances.