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The Isotopic Signature of Lead Emanations during the Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France

Abstract : When Notre Dame de Paris cathedral caught fire on 15 April 2019, lead particles were deposited in its surroundings. Our objective was to determine whether the lead plume had a homogeneous isotopic signature (i.e., a set of homogenous isotopic ratios), and whether, if so, this was different from common sources. In January 2020, dust samples were collected from six areas inside the cathedral, downwind of the fire, as well as from eight roof debris fragments. These samples were mineralized and analyzed using ICP-MS. Their isotopic ratios (207Pb/206Pb and 206Pb/204Pb) were determined and then compared both to each other and to previous published ratios measured in home dusts and blood samples collected in France. The isotopic ratios of dust samples collected inside the cathedral were compatible with each other and with the roof fragments. These isotopic ratios are common and differ neither from those of many other dusts collected in France during the period 2008–2009, nor from those of blood samples collected from children in France during the same period. Moreover, the fire’s isotopic signature is close to the overall signature for Paris. Indeed, it would be difficult to attribute the fire at the cathedral to either lead poisoning or environmental contamination.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 9:33:56 AM
Last modification on : Monday, June 21, 2021 - 10:57:34 AM
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Philippe Glorennec, Aurélia Azema, Séverine Durand, Sophie Ayrault, Barbara Le Bot. The Isotopic Signature of Lead Emanations during the Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 2021, 18 (10), pp.5420. ⟨10.3390/ijerph18105420⟩. ⟨hal-03252955⟩

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