During a structure fire, lead fumes are produced when lead or lead-containing materials are heated to temperatures above 500° C. At these temperatures, lead vapour is released in the form of highly toxic lead oxide fumes. This vapour then condenses into solid fume particles which are released into the atmosphere.
Although the sheer volume of lead that vaporized in the Notre Dame fire was unique, fire restoration practitioners need to be aware of the likelihood that lead may be present in any fire-damaged structure, especially those built after 1978.
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One Reply to “Lead contamination lessons from Notre Dame”
I am very curious if a new lead roof will go on the cathedral. My own thought would be that lead should not be used. I think metal panels of Terne Coated Stainless Steel would be best, and would look similar to the lead. Also, the best grade of french roofing slate would also be an excellent choice. I know it would not have the appearance of the original, but it is a traditional material and it is non-toxic.