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During the Aug. 1 Napa City Council meeting, Councilwoman Juliana Inman requested “that the City Manager write a letter to AT&T asking them to survey and report on what lead sheathed cable remains in the ground and to remove that stuff before it's forgotten.” She went on to say, "As long as it's their utility, what have you got? Where is it? What's the plan for it?”

The Napa County Green Party strongly supports Councilwoman Juliana Inman's request and truly appreciates her efforts. The best way to protect our citizens from this omnipresent danger of lead is to remove all known sources of lead from our environment.

Lead sheathed telecommunication cables were installed by the phone company over the last 100 years, and since then, there are serious concerns the cables are aging and deteriorating, leaching lead into our food and water supply.

Last June, the Environmental Defense Fund released a report titled, "Lead in Food: A Hidden Health Threat." The group evaluated data collected by the FDA from 2003 to 2013. This included over 2,000 baby food samples. They found 89% of grape juice samples contained detectable levels of lead.

This lethal element is everywhere in our environment, and it is important to get all the sources, both direct and potential sources, out of our food chain.

These cables are being abandoned or have been abandoned because of fiber optic technology. We need to ask our phone companies to identify all of their locations and present a schedule for prompt removal.

These cables also contain recyclable materials, such as copper, which would help pay the cost of removing the cables, and the phone companies would make a positive net revenue. There would be no cost to pass off to consumers.

The Richmond City Council voted unanimously to send a strong letter to the phone companies in June. If Richmond can do it, so can the city of Napa.

We ask the rest of the Napa City Council to support Councilwoman Juliana Inman’s request pertaining to lead sheathed telecommunication cable removal, and send a strong letter to AT&T.

We would also like to encourage the Napa County Board of Supervisors to send a letter as well.

James Hinton

Napa County Green Party, County Council Member