Paris, France children Notre-Dame fire lead poisoning


This 6 August 2019 video from France says about itself:

A top French labour union and environmental health groups have banded together to demand Notre-Dame Cathedral be covered and sealed after the fire that destroyed its roof, deeming it an ongoing source of lead pollution.

By Sam Dalton:

Paris’s Notre Dame fire: Two children test positive for lead poisoning

12 August 2019

Four months after the April 15 fire at the Notre Dame cathedral, during which up to 440 tons of lead roofing was dispersed by smoke into the surrounding areas of Paris, at least two children have tested positive for dangerous levels of lead in their blood.

The revelations are an indictment of the local Parisian government of Socialist Party Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the national government of Emmanuel Macron, which have worked to cover up the lead poisoning scandal since the fire occurred and insisted that there is no danger to the population. The government’s actions, including its refusal to close local schools, have meant that hundreds of children have been kept at creches and on school grounds contaminated by lead for months. They are now in danger of permanent damage.

The Parisian Regional Health Authority (Agence Regionale de Santé–ARS) announced the results of the tests of 175 children on August 6. Sixteen were measured to have lead blood levels requiring continued monitoring (between 20 and 49 micrograms of lead per litre of blood), and two with levels above the 50 micrograms indicating a risk of lead poisoning.

While the French government’s categorization assumes levels below 50 micrograms of lead per litre of blood do not pose an immediate risk of blood poisoning, the World Health Organization states that even levels as low as 5 micrograms per litre can pose a significant danger to children. Given the small number of tests conducted so far, it is likely that many more people are now threatened with lead poisoning.

Of the two children recorded with higher lead levels so far, one was a student at a school located in the 6th arrondissement—within a 500-meter radius of the cathedral—that was closed on July 25, when Parisian authorities were finally compelled to respond to a popular outcry at the reports of lead contamination in the playground shared with a second neighbouring school.

Part of the school grounds had recorded lead concentration levels of up to 5,000 micrograms per square meter (μg/m2). This is more than 70 times the level of 70 μg/m² level specified by a 2016 French General Health Directorate advisory as signifying “risk of lead poisoning to children.”

The authorities’ cover-up of these results meant the school continued to function more than three months after the fire had occurred, during which time the government denied that there was any danger to the students.

On July 29, Annie Thébaud-Mony, the honorary research director at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research, told Le Monde that a measurement of 5,000 μg/m2 was “gigantic” and “corresponds to what one can see in decontamination factories for recycling batteries or treating electromagnetic waste materials. They are a sign of massive contamination that will inevitably create victims.”

On July 26, the environmental protection NGO Robin Hood filed a lawsuit against multiple government organizations for placing the population in danger through its response to the lead danger. The suit charges the Macron administration’s Ministry of Culture, the mayor of Paris, the local councillors of the 4th, 5th and 6th arrondissements of the city, as well as the ARS, with the placing of other individuals’ lives in danger, non-assistance to individuals in danger, and providing false and misleading information to the public.

“We estimate that, since the start, there has been a shortcoming of information diffused to the public and that [people] have been victims of false information and toxicity,” said Jacky Bonnemains, the president of the organization.

The organization had published an alert about the risk of lead pollution from the cathedral’s spires and roof on April 19—four days after the fire. This was followed up by a letter sent to the ARS for the Ile-de-France, the Minister for Culture, Minister of Health and the Minister for Labour. The letter requested that the authorities “put in place as soon as possible a coordinated protocol for monitoring dust and lead particles and other toxic substances in and around the cathedral.”

These appeals were ignored.

The Robin Hood NGO also published a letter received from University of Manchester Professor Michael Anderson. He emphasized the importance of rapid decontamination, given the risk that “lead particles will be carried into water sources.”

Not until a month after the Notre Dame fire were tests for lead levels ordered by the Parisian authorities. The results of the tests were made public in leaks published by Médiapart on July 18. They showed that of 196 tests in 10 schools and creches within 500 meters of the cathedral, 31 recorded levels equal to or greater than the 70 μg/m2 threshold, and some many tens of times over.

The local Parisian government covered over these figures, citing only average concentrations of lead, rather than the highest local points of concentration, which children could nonetheless be exposed to.

Bonnemains noted that the government has focused its attention on rebuilding Notre Dame rapidly before the 2024 Olympic games, but “making the cathedral sanitary has been completely overlooked.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, absorbing four to five times more lead than adults. Lead poisoning can cause many health difficulties, most severely, irreversible brain damage.

A deep clean of the schools that had been closed down in July began last week. The cleaning teams wore heavy protective gear appropriate to the danger of the site, which in the past three months children used regularly for play. Meanwhile the reconstruction efforts have now been halted on the site of Notre Dame itself, acknowledging the danger posed to workers. Nonetheless, the government has refused to accept calls by NGOs and the … CGT trade union federation to place a plastic cover over the cathedral itself.

Even the totally inadequate measures enacted so far have been due to public outrage at the government’s lies and indifference to the health of the population. The emergency bill passed in the confusion following the fire ordering the immediate reconstruction of Notre Dame provides authorities with “exemptions or adaptions applying to the protection of the environment and the evacuation and treatment of waste.”

The fire itself was the outcome of the starvation of resources on the cultural site, including staffing cuts and overworked personnel unable to properly utilize the complex fire detection system.

USA: Bottled water distributions begin as lead water poisoning crisis erupts in Newark, New Jersey: here.

LEAD CRISIS HITS NEW JERSEY Residents in Newark, New Jersey, are facing a growing emergency over lead contamination in the city’s drinking water supply. The crisis is the result of years of mismanagement and has forced city officials to warn tens of thousands of residents against drinking tap water for fear of lead poisoning. [HuffPost]

On Tuesday, city officials in Newark, New Jersey were forced to halt handouts of bottled water over concerns over expiration labels. The emergency distribution had just begun on Monday in response to reports last week of high lead contamination in the city’s drinking water even after the use of home tap filters: here.

Earlier this month, the results of testing conducted in Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in August 2018 were released, showing that seven schools have lead-contaminated water. These results were released as the result of a public records request by WNYC/Gothamist; the city government of Newark did not post the results on its website, a violation of state rules: here.

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Ancient monastery, squacco herons, flycatcher, Tilos, Greece


This July 2013 video is called Tilos, Greece – Agios Panteleimonas Monastery.

After 10 May 2019 May on Tilos came 11 May.

A woodchat shrike on a wire.

At Agios Antonios, still two squacco herons present.

We followed the mountain road from Agios Antonios to Agios Panteleimonas monastery. Originally from the 15th century, monks no longer live there.

Agios Panteleimonas monastery, 11 May 2019

Religious objects are still present.

Mosaic, 11 May 2019

So are mosaics.

Viewpoint, 11 May 2019

We continued to this viewpoint. On the right of the photo is Megalo Chorio village.

Then, to the garbage dump of the island. It attracted surprisingly many birds. Including a spotted flycatcher; and two Cretzschmar’s buntings.

After arrival back in Megalo Chorio: a red admiral butterfly on a wall.

Architecture, cats, birds of Tilos, Greece


This 13 July 2016 video says about itself:

Views from around the Island of Tilos, an island in the Dodecanese just west of Rhodes. Includes views from Ilidi Rock apartments and the castle at Megalo Chorio.

This video is the sequel.

After 23 April 2019, 24 April on Tilos.

In the morning, a golden oriole sings in Megalo Chorio.

Again, to the Skafi footpath.

A kestrel flying.

Painted lady butterflies.

Megalo Chorio, 24 April 2019

Meanwhile, in Megalo Chorio village the buildings still stand …

Megalo Chorio, on 24 April 2019

Megalo Chorio, alley, 24 April 2019

… on both sides of narrow alleys …

Megalo Chorio, gate, 24 April 2019

… with sometimes a gate …

Megalo Chorio, church, 24 April 2019

… sometimes leading to churches …

Megalo Chorio, flowers, 24 April 2019

… sometimes leading to flowers …

Megalo Chorio, mosaic, 24 April 2019

… or to mosaics …

Megalo Chorio, cats, 24 April 2019

or to cats …

Megalo Chorio, tree, 24 April 2019

or to this tree.

Honey bees survive Notre Dame Paris fire


This 19 April 2019 video about Paris, France says about itself:

The bees that live on the roof of Notre Dame are alive and buzzing, having survived the devastating fire that ripped through the cathedral on Monday.

Beekeeper Nicolas Geant told CNN that he received a call from the Notre Dame spokesman saying there were bees flying in and out of the hives. “Which means they are still alive!” Geant said.

“Right after the fire I looked at the drone pictures and saw the hives weren’t burnt but there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived. Now I know there’s activity it’s a huge relief!”

Notre Dame has housed three beehives on the first floor on a roof over the sacristy, just beneath the rose window, since 2013. Each hive has about 60,000 bees. Geant said the hives were not touched by the blaze because they are located about 30 meters below the main roof where the fire spread.

The beekeeper Nicolas Geant settled these three hives on the roof of the sacristy of Notre Dame

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The bee colony that lives on the roof of Notre Dame also survived the fire. There was still uncertainty about this, but the three hives, in which 180,000 honey bees live, were not affected by the fire. The hives were placed on the roof in 2013 as a contribution to biodiversity in the center of Paris. They stood about 30 meters below the tip of the roof that burned down.

According to the beekeeper of Notre Dame, bees can survive a fire by filling themselves with honey as soon as they detect a fire. Insects have no lungs and cannot choke because of smoke. European bees will never leave their hive and will protect their queen at all times, beekeeper Geant says.

Paris Notre Dame cathedral fire destruction


This 15 April 2019 video says about itself:

See first images inside Notre Dame Cathedral after fire

CNN’s Tom Foreman discusses historical artifacts inside Notre Dame Cathedral as firefighters continue to battle the flames.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris devastated by fire

16 April 2019

On Monday evening, an intense fire devastated Notre-Dame cathedral, the most frequently visited monument in Paris, with 14 million annual visitors. The fire that broke out at about 6:50 p.m. (local time) in the wooden frame of the roof of the cathedral brought down the spire approximately one hour later, and then totally destroyed the roof. A tall column of thick, yellowish smoke that poured out of the cathedral, consumed by the flames, cast a pall over the city.

The cathedral staff rapidly evacuated tourists who were inside, and the security forces evacuated nearby neighborhoods of Cité Island in Paris. When the flames spread inside the cathedral and reached the north tower, at about 9 p.m., Assistant Interior Minister Laurent Nunez issued a communiqué that it was “not guaranteed” that the structure of the cathedral would be saved. However, at about 11 p.m., firefighters announced that “The structure of Notre-Dame cathedral is saved and preserved overall.”

As 500 firefighters continued to battle the flames late into the night, one firefighter was injured and the heat inside the cathedral caused by molten lead from the collapsed roof remained intense.

At approximately 11 p.m., the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation of “involuntary destruction via fire”, seemingly ruling out the possibility that the fire was caused by arson. At the time of the fire’s outbreak, major work was being done on the roof, where large scaffolding had been set up. The possibility that an accidental fire was triggered by work being done at the site “currently has the attention of investigators, given the current state of the investigations”, said a judicial source close to the probes.

Millions of people in France and internationally are in shock, faced with the devastation of an edifice whose construction began in 1153 and lasted two centuries, and which now is part of the cultural heritage of all of humanity.

Thousands of people went to the neighborhoods of Paris near the cathedral on Monday evening. One woman spoke to BFM TV through her tears and said: “I am a witness to a disaster. I am not particularly religious, but this is a symbol of our beautiful city, which already is not in a very good state, so this makes me extremely sad.”

“It is really sad, the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life,” said Sam Ogden, a British tourist who had come to Paris to visit the cathedral.

Countless art works visited and photographed by hundreds of millions of people around the world have suffered damage that is yet to be determined. These include three rose windows made of stained glass dating to the 13th century, and three organs, including the famous great organ, with its five keyboards, 109 registers and nearly 8,000 pipes. It is unclear what impact the intense heat has had on the structural integrity of the stone of which the cathedral is built.

The sadness felt at the loss to humanity resulting from the fire inevitably recalls other tragedies, such as the plundering of the Iraqi national museum under the watch of NATO countries’ occupation troops after the illegal 2003 invasion, or the Brazilian National Museum fire last year. The Brazilian government’s austerity measures had deprived the museum in Rio of necessary fire protection. Firefighters arriving to fight the flames found themselves without ladders and with unusable fire hydrants.

Aerial view of the fire at Notre Dame

It is difficult to understand at this point how Notre-Dame cathedral could have found itself defenseless in the face of this type of fire.

Maybe the restoration work was done too fast and with too little concern for safety for financial reasons?

The vulnerability of French cathedral spires and roofs to fire has been well known for many centuries, with the cathedrals of Reims and Chartres having suffered major fires of this type in 1481 and 1506, respectively.

Notre-Dame was spared major fires not only during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but also during the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, when Parisian workers attacked the structure as they rose up against the Church, and also during the two world wars of the 20th century.

Despite all the vast technological advances that humanity has made in the 21st century, it is in this century that the famous cathedral was ravaged by fire. Serious questions are posed, with budgets in France and across Europe entirely turned to austerity and tax cuts for the rich, as to whether the allocation of more money on the renovation of Notre-Dame and its fire security could have averted or at least contained a blaze that ended up devastating the entire building.

It was left to US President Donald Trump to tweet a suggestion to send “flying water tankers” used in forest fires to dump water onto the cathedral in a desperate attempt to fight the flames, a comment that quickly drew a retort from France’s General Directorate of Civil Security: “The weight of the water and the intensity of the release at low attitude could, in fact, make the structure of Notre-Dame fragile and cause collateral damage to nearby buildings.”

This 15 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump gives Notre Dame fire advice. See how officials responded.

Former FDNY Battalion Chief John LaFemina explains why President Trump’s firefighting suggestion of “flying water tankers” would not have worked in the battle against the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.

The Alex Lantier article continues:

President Emmanuel Macron visited the Notre-Dame site, accompanied by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Earlier in the evening, Macron had postponed a planned speech in response to the demands of the “yellow vest” movement, which has carried out five months of protests against Macron and his policies of austerity and widening social inequality.

Statements of solidarity came from governments around the world. The German, British, Turkish, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese governments, as well as the Vatican and the city of London, all made statements indicating their sadness. Macron, for his part, gave a brief and perfunctory speech in front of the cathedral, pledging that it would be rebuilt.

It seems likely that the cathedral will now be closed for repairs for a number of years.

Conspiracy Theorists Blame Jews, Muslims For Notre Dame Fire: here.

Paris Notre Dame cathedral on fire


This 15 April 2019 video says about itself:

Firefighters are considering Notre Dame Cathedral fire an accident

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire. There had been ongoing construction and renovation to the building. CNBC’s Sue Herera reports.

This 15 April 2019 video says about itself:

Pictures of Paris’s iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral on fire | ITV News

France’s famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is burning, with video showing the building flaming and billowing smoke.

More here.

This video is a live stream of the fire.