Notre-Dame de Paris finds its spire and its lead controversy


The new spire of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral being installed, November 30, 2023, in Paris.

“Habemus Spiram!” At Notre-Dame, this evening the arrow has returned », se congratulated Tuesday, November 28, on the social networke district of Paris. Four and a half years after the fire of April 15, 2019 and a year before the reopening of the cathedral, scheduled for December 8, 2024, we can once again see its silhouette in the Parisian sky at the top of the scaffolding.

Screenshot.

As decided by the Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, it will be rebuilt ” Alike “, that is to say with a solid oak frame and a cover and ornaments in lead, despite the toxicity of this material. The framework should be completed by the end of the year and the roofing work should start in early 2024.

A perspective which brings back the specter of lead pollution: 460 tonnes contained in the roof and the spire went up in smoke on the night of April 15, 2019 and were deposited in large quantities on the sidewalks, bridges, in the public gardens and schoolyards, or even on the window sills of residents near the cathedral. In April, the Paris public prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation for “endangering others” after complaints from several families and ociations who have warned, since the fire, of the health risks linked to this exposure to lead.

Also read (2020): Article reserved for our subscribers Notre-Dame de Paris: lead, showers and debris

“Poisoning of the population”

CGT Paris, Henri-Peyrezat ociation, ociation of Families Victims of Lead Poisoning, Ecological and Social Alliance… several organizations gathered on Thursday, November 30, on the square in front of the cathedral to say “No to the reconstruction of Notre-Dame with lead”. “The ongoing reconstruction will lead to new lead contamination not only for workers during this phase of work but also, over time, at the environmental level, estimates Annie Thébaud-Mony, honorary research director at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research and president of the Henri-Pézerat ociation. One of the characteristics of rolled lead used for roofing is to release fine lead dust over time, causing lasting environmental pollution. »

Present at the gathering, Paris senator Anne Souyris “asks the government to suspend construction”. “Installing lead in the middle of Paris means taking responsibility for poisoning the population”denounces the elected environmentalist, who held the position of deputy mayor of Paris in charge of public health issues and the fight against pollution until October 23.

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