PARIS (AP) - Experts have discovered varying levels of cancer-causing
asbestos on all 60 floors of Paris' Montparnasse Tower, one of Europe's
The Montparnasse Tower in Paris Monday. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Each year, some 600,000 tourists visit the tower for a panoramic view of Paris, and an estimated 5,000 people work there.
that the tower, which dominates the city's southern skyline, had
asbestos hidden above false ceilings and, especially, in a shaft
housing cables, elevators and the like, was disclosed Sunday by the
weekly Journal du Dimanche.
it was apparently an open secret for several years for those involved
in the tower's management and experts who conducted risk studies.
floors of the building containing technical facilities and closed to
the public were rated "level three" risks for asbestos - the highest,
according to Serge Jullineau, head of the inspection company Health
Risks Agency which analysed the tower's asbestos levels in the
told the Monday edition of the newspaper Le Parisien that, as things
stand, special protective measures are "indispensable" for 4,000 types
of maintenance operations.
Overall, the risks today are "minimal," Jullineau says, but likely to worsen in coming years.
every maintenance operation or diverse work that requires moving the
drop ceilings, there is a potential risk for occupants" on some floors,
Jullineau told Europe-1 radio on Sunday.
quoted Monday by the French news media said two possibilities exist to
treat the tower: a full evacuation for at least three years or a
10-year process that would allow the site to stay open during the
Asbestos, banned in France, was often used in the past to provide insulation in buildings or ships.
discovery of asbestos in buildings on a Paris university campus caused
a scandal in the past. Eight years later, only a portion of the
buildings have been treated.
Montparnasse Tower caused a ruckus when it was built, between 1969 and
1972, because it shot up above the traditional Paris skyline and
diverged with the architectural landscape of the city. The building is
now widely accepted.
© The Canadian Press, 2005