An extensive new report has unveiled a disheartening revelation – numerous neglected telephone cables spread across the United States (same is true globally) are potentially seeping hazardous lead into soil and waterways.
The cables in question, once employed (in the late 1800s through the 1960s) and subsequently abandoned by renowned telecommunications powerhouses such as Verizon and AT&T, have purportedly tainted several prominent waterways.
Notably, the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Detroit River in Michigan, the Willamette River in Oregon, and the Passaic River in New Jersey have all been adversely affected. Consequently, the insidious presence of lead has infiltrated not only playgrounds but also picturesque lakes and tranquil backyard bayous.
Lead is an exceedingly toxic substance, and for years, US regulators and governmental entities have been diligently striving to rectify its pervasive environmental impact. Its association with reproductive ailments, cerebral, renal, and hepatic complications is deeply concerning, particularly when considering the profound vulnerability of children’s adaptable minds to the dangers of lead poisoning.
Children who are subjected to the influence of heavy metal are frequently susceptible to developmental issues that span from behavioral disorders to learning disabilities. Astonishingly, lead exposure still persists, particularly among young children.
Moreover, after the comprehensive analysis it has come to light that these companies possessed a profound understanding of the detrimental effects that the lead content in the cables could inflict upon their workforce and the delicate ecosystems in close proximity.
Despite this knowledge, these organizations regrettably neglected to implement any substantial measures to mitigate the potential health hazards that arose as a result.
It’s a harrowing reminder that when old technologies phase out, they don’t simply disappear. Whether in the form of piles of e-waste or lead-encased phone cables, the corpses of technology’s past often linger. And in this and other cases, they continue to cause real harm.
Reference-The Wall Street Journal Report, National Geographic, EPA website, Quest Diagnostics 2021 Study