The Municipality of Paris confirmed on Thursday that due to a three-month fire in the Notre-Dame Cathedral, airborne stacking is not a health hazard in the neighborhood schools, contrary to what Mediapart’s fact-finding portal claims. The Internet newspaper said that lead concentration was dangerous after the disaster.
“Even if the smallest risk had arisen, schools and kindergartens would not have opened up, but would not open again in September,” said Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, at a press conference on Thursday.
The municipality has previously announced that it “thoroughly cleans” schools during the summer break to guarantee that there is no danger after the fire. However, according to the deputy mayor, “annual cleaning” has nothing to do with fire.
On Thursday, Mediapart wrote that the lead concentration was ten times the alert threshold (70 micrograms per square meter) in a school near the cathedral after the disaster. The newspaper accuses the capital’s local government of “not thoroughly cleaning up the surrounding areas”.
“I recall that the limit is a thousand micrograms per square meter to close an institution, because that is the only legal limit that exists,” said the deputy mayor.
“The 70 microgram alert threshold, not the permissible limit. All regulations are adhered to,” said the Mayor, who believed that there were no health risks from lead measurements based on repeated measurements.
Mediaparte, however, believes that the limit of one thousand micrograms per square meter refers to the location of the release, while the 70 micrograms per square meter alarm threshold applies to places where people are present and requires immediate, thorough cleaning.
“We’ve done things well with the regional health agency and the prefecture in Paris to reassure the parents,” said Emmanuel Grégoire. According to him, the average value of lead concentration in schools will be significantly reduced by summer cleaning, “which at present does not have to cause health concerns to children who go to these schools,” he added.
Ten days ago, the competent authorities reported that, after three months of devastating fire in the cathedral, recent investigations showed that, despite the efforts so far, it had not yet been possible to clean up the space from the airborne lead. In the Notre-Dame roof structure and the tower cover, there were almost 400 tons of lead that melted in the fire.
Examination of the air samples showed that in the dwellings surrounding the cathedral, the lead content of air is already below the health limit. But there are still higher values in the field, so they will continue to clean up the environment and make new measurements. Mediapart had previously reported that one hundred times the statutory limit on the lead in the air around the cathedral had accused the French authorities of trying to hide the problem. However, the health authorities have emphasized that their information is fully open and transparent.
Lead poisoning can lead to serious health problems, including damage to the central nervous system, kidney, premature birth and birth defects.
In the more than 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, the flames burned in the early evening of 15 April, the roof structure burned down, and the cone-shaped hussar tower collapsed. Located in the heart of Paris, on the Cité Island, is the most significant European tourist attraction, with 13 million visitors every year.