Anyone who worked for a utility company as a lineworker and was exposed to lead-sheathed telecommunications cables on the job.
What’s Going On?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed amid reports that telecom giants including AT&T and Verizon have left behind a “sprawling network” of lead-sheathed cables that spans the United States and has reportedly put those working directly near the lines in harm’s way.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A successful lawsuit could establish a medical surveillance program funded by AT&T and Verizon. This would allow for free screenings and tests to help workers monitor the extent and effect of their lead exposure.
What Are Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?
High blood pressure; abdominal pain; gastrointestinal issues; coordination, concentration or memory problems; fatigue; trouble sleeping; muscle weakness or pain; headache; fertility problems; numbness and tingling in the extremities; metallic taste in the mouth; mood disorders; and bluish-black gums, among many others.
What You Can Do
If you’re a utility lineworker and you were exposed to lead-sheathed telecommunications cables on the job, fill out the form on this page. You may be able to help get a class action lawsuit started.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak to anyone who works or worked for a utility company as a lineworker and has been exposed to lead-sheathed telecommunications cables on the job.
In July 2023, The Wall Street Journal published a series of damning articles detailing an internal investigation that found AT&T, Verizon and other telecom companies have left behind a “sprawling network” of toxic lead-sheathed cables that pose not only a risk to the environment and those living nearby – but also those who work near the cables on a daily basis.
Now, attorneys are investigating whether utility lineworkers who have and continue to be exposed to lead-sheathed cables on the job can file class action lawsuits against AT&T and Verizon for their alleged failure to remove or remediate the old cables.
If successful, class action lawsuits could force the telecom companies to fund a medical surveillance program to provide utility lineworkers with free medical screenings and tests to help monitor the extent and effect of their lead exposure.
If you were exposed to lead-sheathed telecommunications cables as a lineworker for a utility company, attorneys want to hear from you as part of their investigation.
Fill out the form on this page today and share your story. After you get in touch, an attorney or legal representative may reach out to you directly to ask you a few questions and explain more about what you can do.
Lead Cable Problem: What Happened?
The thousands of lead telecommunications cables that cover the United States today were originally installed by the old Bell System decades ago.
Once Bell’s monopoly broke up in the 1980s, however, AT&T, Verizon and other carriers took ownership and control of the lead-sheathed cables in their areas of operation.
As technology progressed and made options like plastic sheathing and fiber optics available, the telecom companies allegedly decided to abandon the old lead-wrapped cables in place rather than remove or remediate them.
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal writes that it has found evidence of more than 2,000 toxic lead cables that were left behind on poles, under waterways and in the soil across the United States and cautions that there are “likely far more.”
Following this news, both AT&T and Verizon were hit with proposed class action lawsuits alleging violations of federal securities laws. Specifically, the suits claimed the telecom companies issued false and misleading statements regarding their environmental, health and safety policies and that shareholders were financially harmed as a result.
Lead Cable Exposure: Are Lineworkers at Risk?
Lineworkers who grab, climb over, rub against or otherwise come into contact with lead-sheathed cables on the job may be at risk for lead poisoning and its resulting effects. One Wall Street Journal article writes that a 1970s study of 90 Bell System cable splicers showed “a high lead content in their blood,” with letters from union officials noting that ten of these individuals were at risk for “medical and/or physical deterioration” if they continued their jobs.
Workers may breathe in lead-contaminated air around the cables, absorb lead through their skin, or even ingest it if they eat or drink without washing their hands. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports that lead-sheathed cables can have a dusting of silvery lead so soft and thick that people can – and would – scribble words into it.
Acute lead poisoning (e.g., intense exposure in a short period of time) may cause muscle weakness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, poor appetite, weight loss, a metallic taste in the mouth, a “pins and needles” feeling, and decreased urine output. Workers with blood lead levels of over 60 µg/dL may be at risk for convulsions, coma or death, as well as more long-term effects such as anemia, interstitial kidney fibrosis and peripheral neuropathy, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Lead has also been classified as a probable carcinogen in humans by The Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
How Could a Lead Cables Lawsuit Against AT&T, Verizon Help?
Reports have surfaced that AT&T and Verizon knew the lead in their networks posed a risk to those working directly near the cables – but did little about it.
A class action lawsuit could help hold the telecom companies accountable for their actions and establish a medical monitoring program for utility workers across the country who have been exposed to dangerous lead-sheathed cables.
Such a program could provide free medical care – e.g., testing, exams, bloodwork and other screenings – to monitor the extent and effect of lineworkers’ lead exposure and ideally allow for the early diagnoses of any related conditions. In turn, this could mean better prognoses, less invasive treatment options, extended life expectancy, less pain and less risk of disability.
If you’re a utility lineworker and you believe you’ve been exposed to lead-sheathed telecommunications cables on the job, learn more about this investigation and how you can help by filling out the form on this page.
After you get in touch, an attorney or legal representative will reach out to you directly to ask you a few questions, address your concerns and explain more about what you can do. It costs nothing to get in touch or to speak to someone about your rights.