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Lead-clad cables at some sites safe, tests show, AT&T

AT&T’s CEO said on Wednesday tests conducted at several sites where the telecom operator abandoned lead-clad cables decades ago have shown no risks of a public health crisis.

The company and Verizon have faced questions about the cables since the Wall Street Journal reported in July that the telecom firms left behind a network of underground toxic lead cables which might have contaminated water and soil.

“I said early on in this and I’ll still say today, we don’t believe that there’s a public health crisis right now,” AT&T CEO John Stankey said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference.

The tests, conducted by the likes of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of New York, at some of the sites mentioned in the Journal article, including Lake Tahoe, have concluded that there was no threat to public health, he said.

“We’ll make adjustments if something suggests that we need to make an adjustment,” he said, adding the company was working with regulators on the cables.

AT&T shares were trading 1.8% higher, bucking broader market weakness.

The company has previously said that the lead cables made up only a small part of its wireline network. Reuters

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