Pollution Warning For The Sistine Chapel

Weak Storm System Bringing Rain to Bay Area this Week

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of the Vatican Museums has warned he will be forced to limit the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel if its new air conditioning and air purification systems don’t significantly reduce pollution levels.

Antonio Paolucci told a conference Thursday that he was confident the new system, which is expected to be operational at the end of 2014, would curb the dust, humidity and carbon dioxide that are dulling Michelangelo’s frescoed masterpiece.

But if the new system doesn’t work, he says he would be forced to impose the “painful” solution of limiting visitors.

Some 5.5 million people are expected to visit the Vatican Museums this year. During high season some 20,000 people a day enter the intimate Sistine Chapel, which was last restored in the 1990s.

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