Dangers of Toxic Lead Cables
Telecommunication companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Frontier, and others have recently faced a wave of controversy and potential legal trouble after a Wall Street Journal published an in depth series of articles investigating these companies’ use of toxic lead cables stating “America is Wrapped in Miles of Toxic Lead Cables.”
According to the articles, the lead-clad copper cables in abandoned networks of these telecom companies may have contaminated soil and water sources across the United States.
There are additional concerns that the lead cased cables pose risks to workers and the public for decades to come. Some attorney general offices for states including New York have launched investigations into the health risks of old lead-clad cables.
Telecom companies so far are contesting the danger, but they acknowledge the need to continue to test locations, including many identified by the Wall Street Journal.
Class Action Lawsuits for Toxic Lead Cables
Injured CT is presently evaluating class action claims for lead cable contamination. Government agencies have conducted inspections for lead exposure over a dozen times in the last 4 decades, yet these lead-clad cables remain, and many times underground.
The costs to remediate or safely remove the lead cables in exorbitant for land owners, municipalities, and states are exorbitant, and at least one expert estimates could be in the billions.
The lead-covered cables can be found on poles, soil, and potentially water which could increase the risk to works and communities.
AT&T were not the only ones aware of the potential hazards, either. Verizon had been aware the issue as well but had chosen to ignore it. In response to complaints and concerns, managers at Verizon had told their employees that if they felt unsafe working with lead, they would just send someone else to do the job.
The Dangers of Lead
The dangers to personal health and the environment from lead is known, and the industry started to phase out use of lead covered cables many years and even decades ago.
However, miles of lead-clad cable remain with some in use and others abandoned and left as “legacy” cables without a plan for removal. The Wall Street Journal investigation noted that there are more than 2,000 lead-coveted cables and as “lead degrades, it is ending up in places where Americans live, work, and play.”
The investigation included test samples of 130 locations of underwater cable sites with the use of independent laboratories. The conclusions are that the lead tainted the soil at various locations including fishing spots.
Due to fears of huge liabilities, AT&T and Verizon shares have hit historic lows as experts in telecommunications and industry analysts attempt to measure the long term financial exposure for damages from class action lawsuits for lead cables and state attorney general actions.
Some have estimated the damages for contamination may reach 60 billion dollars for remediation expenses. The Wall Street Journal investigation revealed miles of lead cables in use while many others stand abandoned.
The presence of lead can cause risk to anyone exposed to it for a number of reasons including the brain and nervous systems especially in children, kidney issues, heart disease, and reproductive issues are some of the potential health risks posed by exposure to lead according to U.S. health agencies. Lead can also be very harmful to children in particular, as it can cause issues with mental and physical development.
Lead Cable Exposure Risks
In one reported case, two 6 year old children showed high levels of lead after tests where taken days after playing in a lot with low hanging cables. The Telecom industry disputes any connection between cables and lead levels at this time, but the risks are only starting to get reported after remaining under reported for years.
Now, reporters from the Wall Street Journal collected roughly 200 environmental samples from 130 lead cable sites around the U.S., and according to their findings, roughly 80% of sediment samples taken near underwater cables possessed abnormally high amounts of lead.
Lead contamination in the environment can not only harm ecosystems but can affect the health of people too when it contaminates drinking water or crops.
Possible Locations of Lead-Sheathed Cables
Finding the locations of the lead-sheathed cables is no easy task. Reports indicated that the Wall Street Journal was unable to get confirmation from telecom providers on the locations of the cables.
The Wall Street Journal’s investigation revealed 1,750 underwater cables, and many above ground cables across every state they examined. The investigation looked at some densely populated areas and found cables with lead alongside streets, in fields, next to schools, and at bus stops. Other locations might include bridge crossings, railroads, recreation areas, bus depots, and fishing spots.
What to do If You Suspect Exposure to Lead Cables
Early reports indicate that lead sheathed cables can appear whitish or gray or whitish gray. Don’t touch these cables or the soil or water in the surrounding area.
If you have been exposed, ask your doctor for testing or consult additional information from health authorities and the CDC. If you suspect lead cables, or believe you may know locations of these cables, you can contact Injured CT and we will look into the matter which may involve contacting the telecom, phone company, and/or health department.
We will also evaluate whether a legal claim may be advanced to address health or environmental risks. If you have detected the unexplained presence of lead levels in blood tests., consider the possible involvement of lead sheathed cables in your locations.
Although the EPA and other agencies efforts have reduced the presence of lead in many sources such as paint and gasoline, the presence of lead-sheathed cables is only recently gaining traction as a possible source for continued lead levels in the testing of children.
Injured CT Begins Investigation on Class Action Claims
Injured CT continues to investigate lawsuits for lead-clad cables. We have recently served record requests on a variety of public agencies to learn the locations of these cables in Connecticut, Massachusetts and across New England and the Tri-State area of New Jersey and New York.
We have worked with experts on lead and environmental contamination cases, and consulted with a leading expert featured in the early reports on lead cables. Here are some of the groups and individuals Injured CT is evaluating for claims:
Residential Property Owners
Many homes have been put at risk due to the negligence of these telecom giants. Property owners who have experienced lead exposure may be able to pursue action against these telecom companies in order to seek compensation for property damage or health issues caused by lead exposure.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Employees and individuals who have worked with lead and other citizens who have suffered health issues and personal injuries due to exposure to toxic lead cables may pursue personal injury lawsuits against telecom companies.
These lawsuits seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the toxic exposure.
Communities and environmental organizations may take legal action against these telecom companies to hold the responsible people accountable for the environmental contamination caused by their toxic lead cables.
These lawsuits aim to seek damages for environmental cleanup and restoration, as well as compensation for any harm caused to public health and natural resources.
Class Action Lawsuits
In cases where multiple individuals or properties are affected by AT&T’s toxic lead cables, class action lawsuits may be pursued.
These lawsuits consolidate the claims of numerous plaintiffs into a single legal action, streamlining the litigation process and potentially leading to more significant compensation for affected parties.