Lead pollution is confirmed in schools near Notre-Dame de Paris


In April 2019, the fire at Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral generated a cloud of smoke containing a very large amount of lead. Soot and dust migrated in the wind direction and settled on the west side of the capital.

Following this pollution, lead pollution tests were carried out in schools and nurseries near Notre-Dame.

In a preventive measure, a lead pollution test campaign was carried out in schools and nurseries near Notre-Dame

The results of the first lead pollution diagnoses showed that the schools located east of Notre-Dame did not have any lead contamination. These results were predictable since the schools tested are located on the opposite side of the smoke plume!

They do not provide a measure of the lead pollution that was generated by the Notre-Dame fire. Nevertheless, due to their situation, these schools make it possible to know the basic level of lead pollution in Paris schools.

Significant lead pollution has been measured in several schools located near the smoke route of the Notre-Dame fire.

Several schools (Nursery School and Elementary School 6 rue Saint Benoit 75006, Elementary School 28 rue Saint Jacques 75006) on the outskirts of the smoke cloud have a high level of lead pollution in the courtyards and windows at ground level.

Lead diagnoses conducted on July 23 revealed concentrations of 7123 and 7115 µg/m2. A second series of lead lead measurements carried out after cleaning showed a decrease in lead pollution of 44 to 51% with residual surface concentrations of 3483 and 3955 µg/m2.

Even after cleaning, the concentration is still above the reference value of 1000 µg/m2. Decontamination will therefore have to continue to reduce the presence of lead to acceptable levels below the reference value.

After cleaning, lead levels are still higher than the reference values

The areas west of Notre-Dame were the most exposed to soot and dust contained in the smoke from the fire. The results of lead pollution tests of schools in these areas have not yet been presented.

Indoor environmental pollution tests measure the level of dust pollution present inside a building. Only a laboratory analysis can provide reliable and accurate results. The results obtained are compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) health reference value of 0.5 µg/m3 for lead.

Lead pollution levels in the air are generally in the range of 0.15 to 0.5 µg/m3. As lead is a pollutant with no threshold effects, it is essential to avoid as much as possible its exposure to this substance, which is very toxic to humans.

The Paris City Hall, the public authorities and the health authorities will only test lead pollution in buildings for which they are directly responsible ( day nurseries, schools, public buildings, etc.) and have a strong interest in not alarming the population.

If you want to know the level of pollution in your home or office, you must take the initiative yourself to do a laboratory test via a dust sample. This is especially important if there is a young infant or a pregnant woman in your home because these are especially sensitive to the health effects of lead.

Testing to measure lead in its indoor environment is an approach that remains relevant even several months after the lead has spread. Lead pollution is very persistent, remains in dust for a very long time and has long-term health effects.

The overwhelming majority of residents prefer not to think about the repercussions of this pollution, the effects of which are not immediately apparent and which, moreover, are invisible, whereas a dust analysis makes it possible to know the real level of lead residues and if necessary to take the necessary measures to eliminate this lead pollution.


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