Children and pregnant women residing in the vicinity of fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral have been urged by the government to take blood tests in order to check lead contamination. This measure by the Regional Health Agency in Paris comes after blood test results of a child living in Île de la Cité area of Paris showed exceedingly high levels of lead, about 50 micrograms per liter.
The cathedral which was burned on April 15 released toxins, some 300 tonnes of lead from the cathedral’s roof and steeple. Paris police had warned people to wet wipe the dust settled in and around their homes and had said that the threat from lead exposure was “very localized.”
As a result of the child’s positive test, the Agency has launched an “environmental investigation.” Children under seven and women from the vicinity of Île de la Cité have been urged to take tests and consult their doctors “as a precaution.”
After the blaze on April 15, firefighters managed to save the cathedral’s structure and most of its interiors. However, the 800-year-old cathedral was “reduced to the state of toxic waste.” Environmental campaign groups had raised concerns over clearing away the rubbles, ash and wastewater that could be a likely source of toxic substances, especially lead.
Lead is a toxic metal which is highly poisonous to humans and affects the body systems. Its exposure is especially harmful to children which can cause neurological defects, such as kidney problems and problems of the nervous system.