May 20, 2019, 05:11:31 PM
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Topic: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris  (Read 442 times)

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Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2019, 07:52:26 AM »
Trying to estimate the lead concentration sent in the air by the fire...

Smelter workers had (in some places, have) harmful amounts of lead in the body due to lead's vapour pressure. If melting pure lead at 601K, the (equilibrium) vapour pressure is 10-11atm. If bronze molten at 1210K contains 10%Pb, the lead vapour pressure is 10-4atm.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_pressures_of_the_elements_(data_page)

In Notre-Dame's fire, the lead roofing melted around 600K, but the drops that landed on the burning oak beams didn't leave the flames. At 1400K, lead vapour pressure is 10-2atm. In addition, liquid or gaseous lead in the flames made oxides that went in the atmosphere as fumes, in amounts not limited by the vapour pressure. To my opinion, this is probably the yellow smoke that I never saw over a wood fire.

The firefighters may have inhaled noxious amounts, especially those who climbed in the towers. The nearby inhabitants downwind too. Inhabitants farther downwind and by-passers maybe; the smoke didn't fall down immediately, according to the pictures.

I consider prudent that all people who smelled the smoke clean the clothes they wore, and clean with a vacuum cleaner all surfaces of rooms whose window was open.

Some study mapping the amounts would be urgently needed, diagnosis in the firefighters' blood more so. Treatments to lead poisoning exist
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 08:15:31 AM by Enthalpy »

Offline wildfyr

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2019, 01:03:04 PM »
How is it possible to get this concern to relevant health authorities? Or find out if it's already being addressed?

Offline Borek

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2019, 03:11:45 PM »
Yellowish smoke is not something unusual during fire, so I wouldn't search for too elaborate explanations without additional knowledge.

Actually I was surprised by how light the smoke was, I was expecting much more black one, with lots of soot.
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Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2019, 05:27:24 AM »
How is it possible to get this concern to relevant health authorities? Or find out if it's already being addressed?

French authorities will do everything they can to hide any problem, and will act only under people's pressure. The proper way is to inform the public.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2019, 05:49:35 AM »
Yellowish smoke is not something unusual during fire, so I wouldn't search for too elaborate explanations without additional knowledge.

Actually I was surprised by how light the smoke was, I was expecting much more black one, with lots of soot.

Stone-old dry oak burns cleanly. It go enough oxygen because the lead roofing melted quickly as the flames advanced. 5mm lead melting at 327°C in a big fire at >1000°C. A tin soldier doesn't last for long in a chimney neither, and 50m propagation in 1h leaves time.

I too wish I had more information, but:
  • From French authorities we won't get any sensible one. That's an absolute constant over history, whatever the regime.
  • The sooner poisoned people get a treatment, the better. Lead in the blood can be chelated, in the bones not.
  • It seems unavoidable that lead went in the fumes. Some remained in the fire, and then the vapour pressure let it evaporate. Can something prevent it?
  • There were >>100t lead as roofing, but 100µg in the blood are unhealthy. Many processes provide a path stronger than 10-9.
  • The roof materials weren't so diverse, from pictures before the fire. Oak and lead. Dry oak in chimneys doesn't make yellow fumes. β-PbO is yellow.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Fire at Notre-Dame de Paris
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2019, 06:00:16 AM »
How is it possible to get this concern to relevant health authorities? Or find out if it's already being addressed?

French authorities will do everything they can to hide any problem, and will act only under people's pressure. The proper way is to inform the public.

The NGO Robin des bois tells much the same as I do. The French secret police insults it as an answer and threaten to cut the subsidies. The same spooks who insult and defame anyone revealing in France that wind energy is cheap. Don't expect France to work like the Netherlands or Switzerland.

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