An investigation into toxic lead cables abandoned by telecommunications operators has begun in the USA

An investigation into toxic lead cables abandoned by telecommunications operators has begun in the USA

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating old lead-sheathed cables owned by telecom operators. These cables were already recognized as dangerous in the middle of the last century, but the operators still have not gotten rid of them, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Last year, the WSJ conducted its own investigation into allegations of lead contamination in water and soil against AT&T, Verizon and other telecom operators. Later, the EPA, after sampling more than a hundred cable locations in three states, confirmed that lead levels exceeded safe levels.

EPA experts collected samples from the banks of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Detroit River in Michigan, the Willamette River in Oregon, and the Passaic River in New Jersey. All 130 samples were found to be toxic. EPA intends to take additional samples to confirm that the source of the lead is the cables.

Two US telecom operators, Verizon and AT&T, have said they intend to cooperate with the EPA’s investigation. At the same time, they claim that old cables do not pose a danger to public health and are not the main source of lead emissions.

According to the WSJ, more than 2,000 lead-sheathed cables are polluting the environment today. Although American mobile operators have not used such cables since 1964, they usually remain in place even when fiber is laid nearby. Their disposal can cost operators enormous sums.

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