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Honey Maps the Pb Fallout from the 2019 Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris: A Geochemical Perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 23.07.2020, 17:39 by Kate E. Smith, Dominique Weis, Catherine Chauvel, Sibyle Moulin
The fire at Notre-Dame cathedral, Paris, in April 2019, was an acute pollution event, releasing lead (Pb)-rich dust into the city. To assess Pb distribution, honey samples (n = 36) were collected (in July 2019) from hives throughout the Île-de-France following the fire and were analyzed for a suite of metal concentrations and Pb isotopic compositions. Honey from hives downwind of the fire has elevated Pb concentrations (0.023 μg/g Pb, geometric mean) compared to other honey from central Paris (0.008 μg/g), prefire Paris (0.009 μg/g), and the Rhône-Alpes region (0.004 μg/g). The Pb isotopic range for all analyzed honey (Paris and Rhône-Alpes, 1.144–1.179 206Pb/207Pb, 2.079–2.125 208Pb/206Pb) falls within the modern Pb isotopic range for French aerosols and sediments, signifying that the fire did not perturb the isotopic composition of Parisian honey. The variations in downwind Pb concentrations demonstrate the utility of honey as a biomonitor after an acute pollution event. The isotope results are supported by the construction history of Notre-Dame cathedral and historical record of Pb ores used throughout France.