- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted independent sampling across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Louisiana, assessing threats related to lead concentration near cables.
- AT&T and Verizon, showed a drop in shares, following investigations by Wall Street Journal around lead covered telecommunications cables.
- Industry trade group, USTelecom, responded on behalf of the companies, emphasizing no significant public health risk posed by telecom lead-sheathed cables.
- The EPA suggest insufficient data to confirm if the lead from these cables poses a threat to human health or the environment.
EPA Investigation on Lead-concentrated Cables
The EPA initiated sampling work in specific states and commented there are “no immediate emergencies demanding immediate or urgent removal actions.” The organization anticipates additional data collection early this year to better assess lead concentrations near cables.
Impact on Telecom Companies
The Wall Street Journal’s investigation into the lead coated telecom cables across the U.S impacted telecom giants. AT&T and Verizon saw a dip in their shares. The companies responded through industry trade group USTelecom, which highlighted that the companies still aspire to discuss the technical outcomes of the test results submitted last year.
Industry Response & EPA’s Ongoing Assessment
USTelecom reiterated that the test results still suggest no significant health risk due to telecom lead-sheathed cables. However, the EPA feels that, though some sampled sites showed concentrations above acceptable levels for long-term exposure, more data is crucial to confirm whether lead from the cables indeed poses a threat to humans and the environment.
Impact on Stocks
In July, AT&T’s shares hit a thirty-year low when analysts downrated the stock, following reports of toxic lead cables buried across the U.S.
The ongoing investigations and their potential outcomes could impact trading in telecom shares and related forex in the coming times. In tandem with the regulatory outlook, investors might have to reconsider their positions concerning AT&T, Verizon and related assets.