Thousands of children were exposed to alarming levels of lead after Notre Dame ...

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More than 6,000 children under the age of six were exposed to alarming levels of lead dust after a mammoth blaze struck the Notre Dame cathedral in April, a new report has claimed.

A report by the New York Times found that 'dangerous dust' was scattered across the streets of Paris when flames engulfed 460 tons of lead on the roof and spire of the Gothic cathedral.   

The investigation, which drew on confidential documents, police reports, and lead measurements by the Culture Ministry, revealed French authorities 'had indications' that lead exposure could pose a problem 48 hours after the fire - but it was a month before city officials ordered testing.

More than 6,000 children under the age of six were exposed to alarming levels of lead dust after a mammoth blaze struck the Notre Dame cathedral in April, a report has claimed (Pictured: the Notre Dame fire)

More than 6,000 children under the age of six were exposed to alarming levels of lead dust after a mammoth blaze struck the Notre Dame cathedral in April, a report has claimed (Pictured: the Notre Dame fire)

'The state was afraid to make people afraid,' Anne Souyris, the city's deputy mayor in charge of health, told the paper. 'They thought that they would protect people by not communicating about the lead issue'.

Tests showed at least 18 day care centers, preschools and primary schools had levels of lead dust above the country's standard for buildings hosting children.

In dozens of other public spaces, including parks and plazas, lead levels were found to be more than 60 times above the French safety guideline of 93 micrograms per square foot.

Confidential documents obtained by the publication also revealed that the levels of lead dust deposited around the cathedral were up to 1,300 times higher than these guidelines.

An investigation by the New York Times found that 'dangerous dust' was scattered across the streets of Paris when flames engulfed 460 tons of lead on the roof and spire

An investigation by the New York Times found that 'dangerous dust' was scattered across the streets of Paris when flames engulfed 460 tons of lead on the roof and spire

The report revealed French authorities 'had indications' of the potential public health risk 48 hours after the fire - but it was a month before city officials ordered lead testing

The report revealed French authorities 'had indications' of the potential public health risk 48 hours after the fire - but it was a month before city officials

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