The fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris last month released lead particles that have settled in potentially dangerous amounts in areas surrounding the church, officials said on Thursday, May 9th.
Analysis carried out since the April 15th blaze has detected lead dust in "very significant" levels on some streets and pavements outside the cathedral, which remain off limits to the public, AFP has reported.
Between 10-20 grams of lead per kilogramme (g/kg) were detected in soil samples, compared with normal background levels of just 0.3 g/kg, according to a statement from the police and the ARS regional health service.
The fire destroyed the roof and steeple of the 850-year-old landmark, melting the large sheets of lead that covered an intricate wooden framework.
But officials said testing had not revealed any lingering lead pollution in the air, with all atmospheric analyses showing less than the legal limit of 0.25 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3).
And outside the areas immediately surrounding the cathedral, "no sample on the Ile de la Cite or along the banks of the Seine indicated any lead levels in soils above the benchmark level," the statement said.