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Sistine Chapel pollution levels too high

VATICAN CITY, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The level of atmospheric pollution in the Sistine Chapel is too high and the number of visitors threatens priceless art, a Vatican official said Friday.

Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, said the number of visitors was "excessive," climate controls "inadequate" and capacity "insufficient" to remove pollutants, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

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"If we want to conserve the Sistine Chapel in acceptable conditions for future generations, tackling this is our challenge," Paolucci said.

Modern-day artists aren't capable of producing masterpieces that compare to those of the past, he said.

"There will be no more Michelangelos or Raphaels," Paolucci said. "But in conserving their heritage we must deploy resources of creativity and intelligence not inferior to the ones that those greats exhibited in creating their art."

The Vatican in recent years has taken measures to reduce the number of people in the Sistine Chapel at any one time, but an estimated 10,000 people still visit the chapel each day, ANSA said.

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