A new study will track thousands of cellphone users in several countries over the course of a decade to determine whether mobile phone use contributes to adverse health effects.
In total, 200,000 cell phone users in Britain, Denmark and Sweden will be monitored for at least 10 years.
The study, to be led by researchers at Imperial College, London, will provide the first official research into concerns that mobile phone use contributes to cancer and other diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
"The studies that have come out previous to this one, essentially indicating there is no link between cell phone use and these particular diseases, these studies have been relatively short term," CTV's London Bureau Chief Tom Kennedy told Canada AM on Tuesday.
"The problem that scientists have is that it can take up to 10 years for these cancers to develop, so therefore we have this very large study that's going to go on for a very long time."
The study, which started on Tuesday, is being undertaken under the guidance of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme.
In a news release the MTHR said the U.K. component of the study will cost 3.1 million pounds. It is being funded jointly by the British government and the mobile phone industry -- though a "firewall" has been established to ensure the research is independent.
In total, 90,000 of the volunteer participants are British.
"This study should add importantly to our understanding of whether there are significant long-term health risks from use of mobile phones," David Coggon, a professor on the management committee of the project, said in a news release.
"The parallel collection of similar data in several European countries will give added value."
Kennedy said several anecdotal studies have suggested cell phone use can lead to an increased number of tumours on the side of the brain where the phone is held, and that heavy phone use can contribute to a reduced sperm count.
"So there have been some disturbing results but the problem again is that they have not been large numbers and the testing has not gone over many, many years," Kennedy said.
Coggon said the massive study -- though it will take a decade for conclusive results to emerge -- should help solve that problem.
"This study should add importantly to our understanding of whether there are significant long-term health risks from use of mobile phones. The parallel collection of similar data in several European countries will give added value," he said.