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Notre Dame: Lead fears prompt new cleanup rules, equipment

Last Updated Aug 2, 2019 at 12:33 pm PDT

A worker dressed in a white overalls opens the gate on the fence that surround Notre-Dame Cathedral, in Paris, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, as the preliminary work begins to repair the fire damage. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Strict lead-protection rules have been implemented as cleanup is set to resume at Notre Dame in mid-August

Critics argue authorities did not move fast enough to protect workers

PARIS — Cleanup work at fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral will resume next month but under stricter lead-protection rules, amid growing public concern about toxic pollution.

Under pressure from labour inspectors concerned about lead risks, the regional administration suspended cleanup work at the cathedral last week.

The administration announced Friday that workers will be allowed back starting Aug. 12, but in smaller numbers and with tougher new decontamination measures “to prevent any release of polluting elements to the outside.”

Critics say authorities didn’t move fast enough to protect workers and residents when the cathedral’s lead roof and spire melted in the April fire, spewing toxic dust into the Paris air.

A lawsuit has been filed, and a union-led collective is demanding the “total confinement” of the site.