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European Journal

Italy: Dangerous Dust

In ancient Rome Carrara marble was prized as a building material and during the Renaissance the material was the basis for many famous sculptures. Today the marble is often ground into a fine powder that's harmful to humans and the environment.

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Over the last century, the quantity of Carrara marble being mined has increased exponentially: from around 120-thousand tonnes to five million tonnes per year. Entire mountains in the Apuan Alps are being destroyed. And today the marble powder is being used in paints and resins which pose a health risk for people in the region.