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Paris closes Notre Dame square again as tests find more toxic lead


Riccardo Milani | Hans Lucas | AFP

J-P Mauro - published on 05/21/21 - updated on 05/20/21

Parisian authorities continue to wrestle with toxic lead exposure, two years after the Notre Dame fire.

The Parisian government has closed the square in front of Notre Dame de Paris once again. The decision to close came due to recent tests that showed the area continues to bear toxic levels of lead. 

The square was closed for weeks after the devastating 2019 fire. When the roof ignited, the flames melted some 300 metric tons of lead paneling, spreading toxic lead particles into the air. 

In the years that have followed, Paris has had to implement social restrictions wherever toxic levels of lead were discovered. These have included closing schools and public buildings for the duration of the decontamination process. Authorities have also urged children and pregnant women to receive blood tests. 

According to the local news source, France 24, the Paris police department said in a statement: 

“Results from the most recent tests showed lead dust concentrations higher than the normal levels for Paris at certain points in the square.”

The square will remain closed to the public as a fresh round of decontamination begins. Authorities did not specify how long the project will take, but previous efforts have lasted weeks. No news sources have indicated that the toxic lead levels will halt the restoration of the cathedral. 

French authorities continue to plan to reopen Notre Dame de Paris in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The investigation of the cause of the fire is ongoing, but there is still no explanation for how the fire began. 

Notre Dame

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