(ANSA) - Taranto, July 24 - Researchers have found elevated levels of lead in the urine of residents living in one of southern Italy's most important industrial cities, Taranto, a spokesperson for a coalition of environmental groups announced Tuesday, citing work presented at a scientific conference in Oxford, England. Italian and America researchers found an average of 10.8 micrograms of lead per liter of urine from 141 subjects tested - 67 men and 74 women. A level considered "normal" for a population not exposed to lead in the workplace is from 0.5 to 3.5 micrograms per liter, according to Italian specialists. The study also found elevated values for chrome in the subjects tested. Taranto's heavy industry has been under fire for severe damage to the environment recent. Among other industrial interests, Taranto has one of Italy's most important steel manufacturing plants and a major oil refinery. "It is the first time that these data have been made available in the Italian language," wrote Alessandro Marescotti, the president of Peacelink Taranto, who was appointed by a coalition of environmental groups called Altamarea to present the study.
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di Giovanni Pastore