Telecom Stocks React as EPA Calls for Meetings on Lead-Cable Data Telecom Stocks Plummet as EPA Initiates Talks on Lead-Encased Cable Data

By: Alex Freidmen

Exposed electrical, gas and telecommunications cables, and water pipes during road and footpath works.

Stephen Barnes/iStock via Getty Images

Shares of major U.S. telecom companies took a nosedive late Thursday following a call from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to engage in dialogues concerning their lead-sheathed phone cables, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Market activity surged, with AT&T (NYSE:T) experiencing a rapid 3.9% decline, while Verizon (NYSE:VZ) slid by 3.5%. Wireless competitor T-Mobile (TMUS) fared slightly better with a 0.5% decline, and Dish Network owner EchoStar (SATS) saw a 3.4% drop late in the session.

The EPA’s request for meetings signals a new phase in its investigation, prompted by the revelation of over 100 soil and sediment samples with lead levels exceeding safety standards at lead-cable locations in three states, according to the report.

“This is lead that could be concerning,” stated Superfund chief Clifford Villa to The Wall Street Journal, considering factors such as exposure and pathways into the human body.

The agency has summoned companies to discuss detailed sampling data related to the longstanding lead cables. In response, firms in possession of these aging cables have asserted that they do not pose a public health threat and are not significant contributors to environmental lead levels, especially when compared to lead sources in proximity to residential areas.


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