Verdun national forest, in the Lorraine region of north-east France. The forest covers 10,000 hectares, and was partly replanted after a ten-year operation to remove ordnance. However, it is still today littered with unexploded shells, millions of pieces of lead shot and bullets. The gradually-corroding munitions buried here contain toxic metals and explosives, including fulminate of mercury used in percussion caps. In 2004, France’s national forestry office, the ONF, carried out a study of the livers of wild boar hunted in the forest and found that 10% were highly contaminated by lead and cadmium poisoning. The forest contains several natural water sources that are collected and used for the supply of tap water. There has been no study of the effects these may have had on the health of the local population.
The Great War time bombs scattered around France