Risk of lead poisoning on the Notre Dame construction site: a senator requests the intervention of the Pope

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Monday, December 5, Anne Souyris, environmentalist senator from Paris, requested a private audience with Pope Francis to "present to him the issues for human health and the environment of the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral". She estimates that this rehabilitation, carried out with nearly 500 tonnes of lead, raises ecological and health questions.

In a press release published yesterday, Anne Souyris, senator EELV (Europe Ecologie Les Verts), announced that she had sent a letter to Pope Francis to ask for a private audience.  

In the document, the senator recalls that in the summer of 2020, when she was deputy mayor of Paris in charge of health, she had requested that studies be carried out by the health authorities to assess the risks of lead, considered toxic. She also suggested at the time looking for alternative materials. Recently, in November, it asked the Government to suspend the construction site while awaiting the opinion of a health authority. 

A request once again left unanswered, the senator then decided to rely on Pope Francis to “guarantee the protection of the most vulnerable”.

"The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral was before its fire the most visited monument in Europe. It is a symbol of Christianity in the world, the restoration of which must be carried out in such a way as to guarantee the protection of the most vulnerable.

She also underlines that we must “protect” all those who go to Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, to attend a mass or simply during a visit.

"[...] it is a question of protecting the common home, of protecting not only Christians, but also all visitors and residents of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral."

In one message made public Following the fire that devastated Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019, Pope Francis said he hoped that it would one day once again become the “architectural and spiritual heritage of Paris”.

"I hope that Notre Dame Cathedral can once again become, thanks to the reconstruction work and the mobilization of all, this beautiful setting in the heart of the city, a sign of the faith of those who built it, the mother church of your diocese, architectural and spiritual heritage of Paris, of France and of humanity."

Melanie Boukorras 

Image credit: Shutterstock / JeanLucIchard

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