EPA finds no immediate health threat from lead near telecom cables in Pennsylvania

U.S. environmental regulators tested soil for lead on Thursday in two Pennsylvania towns near telecommunications cables and said that despite some findings of the contaminant, the results “justify immediate government action.” It was shown that there is no threat to the health of people nearby.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s tests were prompted by a Wall Street Journal investigation of lead-coated telecommunications cables across the United States. The EPA has extracted lead from soil near a town call center in Pennsylvania and telecommunications cables in California.

EPA has established a national task force to consider next steps to ensure public safety. This may include further analysis to better understand whether lead has been and continues to be released from the cables.

The EPA previously said testing in West Orange, New Jersey, showed “no immediate threat to the health of nearby residents.”

The EPA said Pennsylvania’s results show lead levels in some soil samples exceeded the EPA’s screening level of 400 ppm.

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A communications engineer connects a ground cable next to the fiber optic line of a recently installed Ericsson 5G antenna system for AT&T’s 5G wireless network in downtown San Diego, California, April 23, 2019. (Reuters/Mike Blake/File Photo)


“EPA’s data evaluation takes into account that most of the areas sampled are covered with grass and are not areas where children congregate for extended periods of time,” the agency added.

Earlier this month, Verizon announced that third-party lead soil testing and testing in Wappingers Falls, New York, concluded that lead levels do not pose a public health risk. Verizon said third-party testing was consistent with EPA test results in West Orange.

Verizon did not immediately comment on Thursday, but told Congress this month: “While we were skeptical of the Wall Street Journal’s claims, we remain committed to the health and safety of our communities and employees. , I took it seriously.”

AT&T stock fell to its lowest level in 30 years in July after analysts downgraded the company following reports that AT&T left hazardous lead cables buried throughout the United States. It fell.

AT&T stock has largely recovered and is now down 2% from its pre-report price. AT&T declined immediate comment Thursday.

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