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A Damaging Revelation: How AT&T and Verizon Cables Are Polluting Our Environment

A Damaging Revelation: How AT&T and Verizon Cables Are Polluting Our Environment

  Although America has made great strides toward eliminating lead paint and pipes, phone giants like AT&T and Verizon still pose a danger to unknowing Americans. A comprehensive investigation by the Wall Street Journal discovered that these phone giants have left behind old copper wires laced with lead that have now seeped into water supplies and soil at various locations nationwide - including schoolyards - leaving behind toxic cables which contaminate both. As reported by this paper's investigation these cables installed from late 1800s through 1960s by Bell Telephone company predecessors have left behind an array of old copper wires laden with lead which seeped into water supply systems nationwide while also contributing to rises in lead levels seen across country - leaving Americans vulnerable. The Wall Street Journal's investigative journalism team invested considerable resources into investigating this issue. Independent labs were employed to test water and soil samples collected near these buried cables, finding toxic concentrations of lead that are particularly hazardous to children who are more prone to lead poisoning either through ingestion or absorption through their skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of lead exposure include abdominal pain, lack of appetite, vomiting and pica (the ingestion of items other than food). In severe cases it may even result in organ damage and even death. A WSJ investigation revealed that AT&T and Verizon both aware of this problem but have done little to address it despite stating their cables do not pose a health threat and adhered to all environmental standards for dealing with them. Investigation results have also shown that AT&T and Verizon are failing to properly dispose of hazardous waste generated when replacing and upgrading cable lines, prompting state attorney general investigations, including in California where AT&T and Verizon may have violated state regulations. Both companies claim they are complying with investigations while taking measures to improve hazardous waste disposal practices. New Street Research policy analyst Blair Levin of New Street Research expects the article to cause more widespread environmental testing, and believes AT&T and Verizon may ultimately have to pay substantial sums towards clean up costs. Unfortunately, due to complex legal and business considerations involved, it's difficult to ascertain exactly how the situation will unfold - specifically as many of today's telecom firms that formed after Ma Bell were formed had different ownership structures than Ma Bell did at each site where cables may exist.

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