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Mobile health risk questions to be answered

The world's largest study on the long-term health implications of using mobile phones has been launched in London.

Cosmos, the cohort study of mobile phone use and health, plans to recruit 250,000 mobile users in five European countries, including 100,000 from the UK.

The study will last between 20 and 30 years, and aims to provide the first long-term data on the health effects of using mobile technology.

Organisers of the study say that, as well as being too short to determine the long-term health effects of mobile use, previous studies have relied on users estimating the amount of time they spent on calls.

Users who sign up to the Cosmos study will give organisers permission to tap into their mobile phone records to see precisely how long they’ve spent on the phone (but not the numbers they’ve dialled).

Co-principal investigator of the study, Dr Mireille Toledano of Imperial College yesterday said: “The best thing we can do… is to start now to monitor the health of a large number of users over a long period of time - that way we can build up a valuable picture as to whether or not there are any links in the longer term."

In addition to cancers, Cosmos will look at the relationship between mobile use and other conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, headaches, tinnitus, depression and sleep disorders.

The study will also look at exposure to electromagnetic radiation from wi-fi, cordless phones and baby monitors.