AT&T Inc. said Tuesday that recent tests at a pair of sites where there are lead-clad cables didn’t deem the cables to be a risk to public health.
The telecommunications company has been under some fire lately after the Wall Street Journal reported on lead-sheathed cables historically used by the telecommunications industry, and AT&T
said that while it doesn’t think the presence of these cables poses health risks, it will continue to conduct testing.
“As part of our ongoing collaboration with the [Environmental Protection Agency], we will be proactively providing testing data to the agency as it thoroughly assesses the matter,” a company spokesperson said Tuesday.
AT&T disclosed in its latest update that “second test of the underwater cables in Lake Tahoe, performed by a different, prominent expert, found that the lead-clad cables in Lake Tahoe do not pose a public health concern and that no lead was detected leaching from the Lake Tahoe cables.” This backed up a 2021 study that the company worked on with independent experts, AT&T said.
The company also discussed the preliminary results of ongoing tests at a Detroit site where there are aerial cables. Those also were not found to be a health threat, according to the AT&T spokesperson.
“There is no meaningful difference in measured lead levels between the soil directly below the cables and background levels in the same area (e.g., across the street where no cables exist),” the company said. “The lead levels in soil below the cables are less than the average household soil lead levels in the Midwest as reported by [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] and are far less than the EPA’s screening level for lead in residential soil.”
AT&T shares are off 6% since the close of trading July 7, before the Journal ran its report on the cables.