July 18, 2023
We care deeply about the health and safety of our people, customers and communities. Consistent with that, we’re taking even more action:
- We are working with union partners to add a voluntary testing program for any employee who works with or has worked with lead-clad cables. We will be offering the testing on company time and at company expense. This expands on our previous practice of providing blood-lead testing for technicians involved in lead-clad cable removal and following all applicable laws and regulations relating to the handling of lead-clad cables.
- While we have previously tested lead-clad cables and continue to believe that they pose no public health risk, we take any health concern seriously and are conducting additional testing beyond Lake Tahoe, including the locations identified in The Journal’s stories.
- We are performing in-person site visits where lead-clad cables are present to inspect their condition and determine if any action is necessary.
- We are going to further study the cables in Lake Tahoe. This is in exact alignment with what the environmentalists behind The Journal’s reporting asked the EPA to do in an open letter on July 17. The open letter makes it clear that the condition of underwater cables should be further assessed to determine the risk posed to the public before taking any further actions. We plan to work cooperatively with regulators and other stakeholders on a risk assessment.
For more detail, please refer to the following filing made on July 18.
July 9, 2023
The health, safety and well-being of our people, our customers, and our communities is of paramount importance. For decades, we have managed legacy lead-clad cables in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and we have followed industry-wide best practices to maintain this legacy infrastructure in a way that’s safe for all based on established science.
We take the matters raised by The Journal very seriously, and any public health concern is a top priority. It’s important to note that The Journal’s reporting conflicts not only with what independent experts and long-standing science have stated about the safety of lead-clad telecom cables but also our own testing, which we have made available to the public and shared with The Journal. The scientific literature and reliable studies in the U.S. and abroad give no reason to believe that these cables pose a public health issue or a risk to workers when appropriate safety measures are in place.
Based on information shared by The Journal, it appears that certain of their testing methodologies are flawed and one of the companies responsible for the testing is compromised by a conflict of interest.
Any new scientific data needs to be studied further before arriving at conclusions about public health and safety related to these cables. Should there be a need for further analysis of this topic, we will work collaboratively with industry peers and other stakeholders and act responsibly.