What is lead pollution in Notre-Dame de Paris?

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Because the surroundings of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris are currently polluted by lead dust, a metal that can be dangerous for health.

Following the fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral in April 2019, lead dust was scattered in the surrounding area in the center of Paris. But where does this lead come from? Why is he worried? And how to clean this pollution? To find out more, listen to the survey of junior journalists franceinfo junior, the radio program partner of1jour1actu.

lead pollution Notre-Dame de Paris

(© Bertrand Guay / AFP – Little journalists: © Estelle Faure / franceinfo)

The p'tites journalists from franceinfo junior interviewed Jacky Bonnemains, representative of the Robins des Bois association. This is an association of defense of the environment who worries about the lead pollution near Notre-Dame de Paris.

lead pollution Notre-Dame de Paris
(© Estelle Faure / franceinfo – © Forest Robins)

Why was the center of Paris polluted with lead?

The roof Notre-Dame cathedral, built in the Middle Ages, was covered with large lead plates. This metal made it possible to make resistant roofs, well sealed with rainwater.

On April 15, a terrible fire ravaged the roof of Notre-Dame. You heard it in the investigation of the p'tites journalists: under the effect of heat, tiny lead dust were scattered in the air. These particles are then dropped, settling everywhere around the cathedral.

lead pollution Notre-Dame de Paris
This is what Notre-Dame looked like before the fire. You can see the lead roof, now gone. (© Liu Jianhua / Imaginechina / AFP)

Where is the pollution today?

During the summer, the State and the Paris mayor have led cleaning operations near the cathedral, especially in neighborhood schools, to protect children.

Here, for example, in three stages, how the technicians removed lead in a playground:

lead pollution Notre-Dame de Paris

But this kind of cleaning, very effective, could not be done everywhere. Elsewhere, we simply washed or sucked the soil, which is not always enough to eliminate lead. Some parents of students, worried, asked that the return is postponed until neighborhood schools are cleaned up.



Lead pollution in Notre-Dame

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