Lead From Notre Dame Fire Causes Concern Among Paris Residents

When Notre Dame Cathedral burned, the world watched in horror as the Parisian landmark crumpled and the iconic spire fell. Now, as the cleanup process begins, citizens of Paris worry that the damage caused by the fire has increased lead levels in the surrounding areas.

As police and cleanup crews continue to assess the damage done to Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the biggest concerns is lead poisoning from dust created during and after the fire. Photo Courtesy of AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Parisian police say that since the fire, lead levels from the roof have increased. After the blaze, lead levels in Notre Dame have been recorded to be between 10 and 20 grams per kilogram of ground. That’s between 32 and 65 times the limit recommended by health authorities of 0.3 grams per kilogram.

Many of the areas closest to the cathedral have been closed. The spire of the cathedral contained hundreds of tons of lead, as did the frame of the building, much of which was burned in the blaze.

Police believe the lead could coat the surfaces of apartments, homes, and businesses near to the cathedral and have urged residents to give their homes and offices a thorough clean using a damp cloth to rid furniture and walls of lead dust. Authorities have also recommended that children and pregnant women, who are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning, should wash their hands frequently to avoid ingesting any potential lead particles.