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Paris sued over lead leaked during Notre Dame fire, repairs halted due to contamination


dpa, Hamburg, Germany

Work to stabilize Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a huge fire in April should be suspended due to the risk to workers of lead contamination, local authorities said on Thursday.

The roof and spire of Notre Dame, which were destroyed in the April 15 blaze, contained large quantities of lead.

A report from labour inspectors Tuesday had indicated that decontamination measures for workers on the site were not suitable and rules were not being properly followed, the regional prefecture said in a statement.

Prefect Michel Cadot asked the regional cultural affairs directorate to halt work on the site until adequate protective measures could be put in place and staff properly trained, the prefecture said.

News agency AFP quoted Cadot as saying that the halt would last “several days.”

French investigative news site Mediapart reported earlier this month that lead levels of 400 to 700 times the legal limit had been found in the ground around the cathedral after the fire.

It accused French authorities of covering up the problem, but health authorities said communication had been transparent.

President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants the 12th-century cathedral rebuilt in an ambitious five years and has controversially suggested replacing the destroyed 19th-century spire with a work of modern architecture.

Investigations are continuing to look into the cause of the fire, which happened while work was being done on the roof. Prosecutors have ruled out arson.


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