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At least 300 tons of lead melted during the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris, a real danger to public health estimates associations. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

At least 300 tons of lead melted during the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris on April 15. This lead is now found in the dust and soil of a large, contaminated area.

Notre-Dame's melted lead is now found in the dust and soil around the Parisian cathedral, but not only: the winds carried it west of Paris and the rains caused pollution of the city. Seine.

In the soils around the building, lead levels sometimes exceed 60 times the limit value, according to the Paris police headquarters . Even exposure to low doses of lead can be dangerous, experts say.

Some even fear a health catastrophe comparable to that caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center. For Annie Thébaud-Mony, researcher and specialist in occupational cancers, the Notre-Dame fire is a time bomb. " The two catastrophes are comparable in the sense that it is an absolutely gigantic dispersion of very dangerous pollutants. The World Trade Center should have made the authorities think . "

Protect riparians and workers

But the authorities do not seem to take the measure of damage. Life around the cathedral continues as if nothing had happened, says Jacky Bonnemains of Robin des Bois. " See the restaurants go on, the vendors of the t-shirt stores keep on getting intoxicated. Above all, do not touch the idyllic image of people in this now-devastated neighborhood ... "

For the associations, the funds raised for the reconstruction of the cathedral should also be used to protect the health of residents and workers. " All this money that has been mobilized, that there is some that is devoted to this health monitoring of populations who are unfortunately victims of this fire, " says researcher Annie Thébaut-Mony.

Cartography and protocol

The associations are calling for accurate mapping of the fallout of lead, followed by a campaign to detect and manage lead intoxication . Mady Denantes, doctor of the Association of families victims of lead poisoning (AFVS), requires measures adapted to the gravity of the situation: " It is asked that the authorities put in place a map to look at the areas where today we find lead, in dust, in the earth, and a protocol for making blood lead levels. You have to know who you are doing it, to give advice and to determine what to do. We are waiting for the recommendations of the public authorities on these situations. "

If research has begun, especially in dust, Dr. Denantes points out that this is for the moment an estimate. " I think we have to give dosages. We want to have the results. And I think that effectively, not to inform is to worry. People have the right to information and the presence of lead and possible poisoning of their children, for example, and advice to prevent the poisoning worsens .