The Center of Paris Is Shut Off Due to Toxic Lead from Notre-Dame Fire

Some disasters just keep getting worse. To pour lemon juice in the papercut that was April’s Notre-Dame fire, a squad has been dispatched to combat a dangerous after-effect of the cathedral’s destruction.

According to NPR, when the church’s roof and spire were set ablaze, 440 tons of lead was melted and blown into the surrounding areas by the conflagration. The French government has been accused of doing little to alert the public of the threat of lead poisoning, likely wanting to avoid disrupting tourism even more than the fire itself already has. But this week, the city finally decided to take action. The plaza and surrounding streets have been shut down while a crew of workers pastes a blue-green gel detergent designed to attract and neutralize lead particles.

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The construction site should resume operations on August 19, but it is unsure how long it will take for the neighborhood to be completely decontaminated. So France will have to wait and see to find out if French president Emmanuel Macron will make his ambitious 5-year reconstruction goal without putting any unnecessary lives at risk.