Environmental Groups Call for EPA Investigation into Lead-Sheathed Telecom and Power Cables

Water sample. Gloved hand into the water collecting tube.

On July 17, 2023, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Below the Blue, and Clean Water Action sent a letter to EPA, calling on the agency to investigate the release of lead into the water or surface soil from lead-sheathed telecom and power cables. Lead-sheathed telecom and power cables were not included as a potential source of lead exposure in EPA’s 2022 Lead Strategy; however, EDF argues that recent articles from the Wall Street Journal indicate the potential risk of these cables. The investigation was funded by EDF to understand the extent to which these cables may pose a public health risk and it was found that elevated levels of lead were found in sediment samples collected near these lead lines.   The organizations call for EPA to prioritize the immediate removal of ariel cables, those that are easily accessible by children, and asses the condition of underwater cables and those within source water protection areas. For more information, visit EDF’s news release.