Cosmos is the largest and most ambitious study ever initiated on the potential health risks of mobile telephone use. The study is intended to produce definitive answers to the question of whether or not prolonged and extensive use could cause brain cancer or other health problems.
The programme is endorsed by the World Health Organization as well as many others including the U.K. Health Protection Agency (HPA). It is funded in part by the MTHR, and research in the U.K will be carried out by Imperial College London.
Cosmos, or the cohort study on mobile communications, will involve about 200,000 participants from the U.K., Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands. The study will last for 20 to 30 years, with initial reports submitted expected to be submitted in 2020. Researchers will monitor the use of WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors as well, in order to get the most comprehensive results.
Health professionals and organizations concerned with the safely of mobile phones over the long term say that studies undertaken to date leave too many uncertainties. Many forms of cancer cannot be detected in the first ten years of their existence, and other problems such as headaches, depression and sleep disorders may not be correctly diagnosed as to cause.
The other concern is that previous studies have been based on the participant’s memory of how much time they spent on the (mobile) phone. Cosmos will monitor the length of every single call, though not the numbers dialled or those of incoming calls – no invasion of privacy, just a passive background presence.