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Modern Solution - An investigation has begun in the United States into toxic lead cables abandoned by telecom operators

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

Last year, the WSJ conducted its own investigation, as a result of which AT&T, Verizon and other telecom operators were charged with lead contamination of water and soil. The EPA later confirmed that lead levels exceeded safe levels by taking samples from more than 100 cable locations in three states.

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 turned out to be toxic. The EPA intends to take additional samples to make sure the cables were the source of the lead.

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

As the WSJ states, today more than 2,000 lead-sheathed cables pollute the environment. Although U.S. cell phone carriers haven't used such cables since 1964, they typically stay in place even when fiber optics are laid nearby. Their disposal can cost operators enormous amounts of money.

Modern Solution - An investigation has begun in the United States into toxic lead cables abandoned by telecom operators