Lead from Notre Dame detected in Parisian honey

While all the honey fell within the EU’s allowable limits for safe consumption, honey from hives downwind of the Notre Dame fire had average lead concentrations up to four times that of samples collected in the suburbs or countryside surrounding the city, and up to three and a half times the amount found in Parisian honey pre-dating the fire.

Because honey bees forage within a two- to three-kilometer radius of their hive, honey can provide a useful localized snapshot of the environment. As the bees forage, they collect dust and airborne particles, which make their way into the honey.


What inspired the spire of Notre Dame?

Amiens catherdral
Photo: Courtney Mares
Amiens catherdral

Amiens is the largest cathedral in France, with an inner volume twice the size of that of Notre Dame de Paris. Construction began on the Gothic cathedral in 1220, shortly after France acquired the relic of St. John the Baptist from Constantinople. Upon its construction, it became a popular destination for 13th-century pilgrims.

After French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc led the restoration work on Amiens cathedral in the 19th century, he looked to the cathedral’s 16th-century wooden spire as the historic model for his design for the spire of Notre Dame de Paris.


Notre Dame, a soaring budget

Gargoyles of Notre Dame

The budget for Notre Dame’s security, consolidation, and cleaning phase must be revised upwards. To date, it has reached 165 million euros, more than double the 80 million initially estimated.

This was explained, on July 2, 2020, by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, in his capacity as president of the public institution responsible for the conservation and restoration of Notre Dame.

Heard by the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, the soldier wanted to be optimistic: the lead emissions from the cathedral are ancient history, the dismantling phase of the scaffolding has begun, and “all the people who work there are enthusiastic and proud,” he said.


Notre Dame will be rebuilt as before

Notre Dame scaffolding
Photo: AP

No swimming pool or organic garden on the roof of the medieval Paris monument, or contemporary glass spire, or other modern twists. And to stay historically accurate, it will again be built with potentially toxic lead.

That’s the verdict reached by French President Emmanuel Macron, the cathedral’s present-day architects and the general in charge of the colossal reconstruction project for one of the world’s most treasured landmarks.


Greenpeace hangs climate banner from crane by Notre Dame

Notre Dame crane
Photo: Reuters
Greenpeace activists display a banner that reads: “Climate: In Action”

Greenpeace activists on Thursday hung a banner reading “Climate: Time to Act!” from a crane towering over the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The World Meteorological Organization said in a report earlier on Thursday that Earth would continue to warm over the next five years and global temperatures may temporarily rise to more than 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.