AT&T CEO John Stankey (pictured) used its Q2 earnings call to address uproar over operators using lead-sheathed cables in their networks, stating it is yet to hear of any related health issues.

Stankey said regular interactions with various regulators had uncovered no evidence the lead-encased cables caused health problems for employees or customers.

AT&T plans to expand health tests for staff involved in cable removal, he said.

It added a voluntary testing programme for any employee involved with lead-lined cables.

“We haven’t disclosed anything publicly about claims because there hasn’t been anything material to disclose,” Stankey explained, adding the cables involved comprise a small part of AT&T’s network, with the majority located underground encased in protective conduit.

Stankey cited litigation as limit on what he could discuss: it faces action in an area it had agreed to remove cables but subsequently reportedly halted its work.

The CEO stated some lead-covered cables are still in use, despite the industry generally moving away from them in the 1950s.

“We take the concerns raised very seriously as there is no higher priority than the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we live and work.”

Stankey stated long-standing science indicated there is no reason to believe the cables posed public health risks, but AT&T is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to provide the information needed to conduct a thorough assessment using the latest techniques.

AT&T and Verizon could face a significant financial impact if they have to remove the cables: Stankey noted his company is updating credit agencies about any potential issues.

“I don’t think there’s anything we’ve shared with them that’s any different than what we shared with you.”