Children and pregnant women living near Notre-Dame in Paris have been urged to take blood tests amid fears they may have been contaminated after the fire that devastated cathedral.
The French capital’s regional health authority issued the warning on Tuesday after doctors found high levels of lead in the blood of a child living on the Ile de la Cite island where the global Gothic landmark stands. These were above the regulatory limit level of 50 microgrammes per litre.
As a “precaution”, the agency said it was asking families with children aged under seven and pregnant women living on the Ile de la Cite to "consult their GP so they can be prescribed a blood test for lead levels".
The April 15 blaze spewed toxic lead into the air from the hundreds of tonnes in the cathedral’s burnt-out roof, which fell to the ground as dust. Soil samples and some surrounding state buildings tested positive for high levels of lead.
The authority insisted that recent samples show there is "no risk linked to air quality”.
A vacuum-type machine has been used to suck up any lead dust in the cordoned-off parts of Notre Dame’s forecourt.
Images of the blaze, in which the cathedral’s roof, its “forest” of medieval wooden beams, and famed spire burned down, shocked Paris, France and the wider world, prompting hundreds of millions of euros in donations to restore it.
Heated debate ensued on whether the roof and spire should be precisely restored to their former glory or be given a modern makeover.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed interest in an "inventive" reconstruction while the government launched an architectural competition on how to proceed.
But on Tuesday, the architect in charge of the restoration became the latest public figure to call for a spire identical to the one designed by the celebrated 19th-century French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.
"I think we don’t just have to rebuild a spire, we have to rebuild it in an identical way," said Philippe Villeneuve.
Paris’ socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, issued the same call in recent days, saying craftsmen should be drafted in from across France to do so.
Click Here: United Kingdom Rugby Jerseys