COSMOS, short for ‘cohort study on mobile communications’, is a new study announced in the UK on 22 April 2010 that will investigate the health effects of long-term mobile phone (cellphone) usage. It will be the longest study ever made, involving 250,000 people aged 18-69 in five European countries over 20-30 years.
The UK-based part of the study will be led by Imperial College London, who explain on their website, ” Studies of short-term use of mobile phones and health have been reassuring, other than well-known associations with risk of motor accidents. However, there are still some uncertainties about the health effects of mobile phone use, since some diseases take many years to develop, and so far few people have been using mobile phones for that period of time.”
In fact, a huge number of studies have already concluded that there can be significant health risks associated with prolonged mobile phone use. One of the most recent, conducted by Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg in Sweden in 2009, found that people who begin using a mobile phone before the age of 20 were more than 5 times as likely to develop a brain tumour. With so many children using mobile phones, and at younger and younger ages, this is serious cause for concern.
Many people have likened the denial of health effects associated with mobile phone use to the line taken by asbestos and tobacco industries in the past. Professor Leif Salford, Head of Research at Lund University, Sweden, has called the use of mobile phones “the largest human biological experiment ever”, and has warned that many of the current generation of young people who use them are likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by middle age. I hope he’s wrong. Imagine what our world will be like if he’s right. I don’t know any teenager who doesn’t own a mobile phone and use it all the time.
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