The fire that ravaged the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in April, has exposed at least 6,000 children to high levels of lead according to a new report. French authorities were alerted to the possibility of high levels of lead exposure in the immediate area of the blaze.
The roof of the Gothic Cathedral contained over 450 tons of lead, which quickly vaporized into dust and blew over the city, settling in schools, day cares, parks and other public places.
Confidential documents obtained by the New York Times found lead levels closest to the Cathedral were 1,300 times higher than allowed by French safety guidelines. Making matters worse, The Culture Ministry waited four months before finishing decontamination of the surrounding neighborhoods, and failed to notify workers of the potential health hazards.
Tests also revealed that at least 18 schools and day cares, had elevated levels of lead, that were at least 60 times higher than regulation.
Anne Souyris, deputy mayor in charge of health said “the state was afraid to make people afraid… They thought that they would protect people by not communicating about the lead issue,”