Are mobile phones bad for our health? Do they emit radiation that is going to cause dangerous cancers in the brain?
The scare stories have run for years, but as yet nobody really knows that much about the health impact of the mobile phone on human beings.
Cancers and brain disease
This week, a new Imperial College study launches, set to monitor the impact of mobile phones and long-term health problems such as Parkinson's, Alzheimers and other brain diseases and cancers.
The Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (COSMOS) is set to be the largest of its kind, with over 250,000 subjects between the ages of 18 to 69 in Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark taking part.
Imperial College's Professor Paul Elliott is the Principal Investigator in the study, and says that research to date examining the mobile phone health link had been reassuring. However, this has only really been carried out on an ad hoc basis over the last ten years.
"For the sake of current users and future generations this is the sensible thing to do," Elliott told a press conference in London this week. "The COSMOS study will be looking at long-term use, 10, 20 or 30 years. And with long-term monitoring there will be time for diseases to develop."
Professor Lawrie Challis from the independent MTHR group said we still cannot rule out the possibility that mobile use might cause cancer.
"There just hasn't been enough time. Most of us have not had mobile phones for more than 10 years," said Challis. "Many cancers take 10, 15 years for the symptoms to appear. So we've got to address the question, could there be something out there that we need to look at."