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NAPLES, Italy — A meteorological tower installed on the Gricignano support site is part of the Navy’s broader study of the air, water and soil in the region.

It will help determine whether living in Naples is harmful to residents’ health.

The tower — along with four similar Italian towers across Naples and Caserta — have sensors that will record conditions such as wind speed, wind direction, temperature, solar radiation, barometric pressure and rainfall.

Experts will collect and evaluate the data, in conjunction with air sampling data collected from nine Italian and U.S. air monitoring stations being placed throughout Naples and Caserta, said Kelly Burdick, spokeswoman for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe and Southwest Asia.

A meteorological tower is important is because weather conditions can affect analysis of possible pollution data, a Navy expert said.

"[W]hen you are sampling air for possible contaminants, amounts measured in the air will change with the changing weather conditions," Dr. (Cmdr.) Walter Dalitsch, the occupational health officer in Naples, said. "You can have false elevations [of possible contaminants] or false reductions if you don’t take into account changing weather conditions."

A Navy-contracted environmental company will put up air monitoring stations — in areas not already monitored by the Italian government — where U.S. and NATO personnel live and work.

According to information posted on the Navy’s official health assessment Web site, the nine air monitoring stations will be able to detect contaminants such as dioxins and pesticides. Experts also will determine the health effects of burning garbage and fields.

The stations are part of a larger Navy initiative started in January by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center because of concerns over uncollected trash, air pollution caused by burning trash, and possible soil contamination caused by illegal dumping. Experts also plan to test the water and soil of some residents who live off base.

Results periodically will be put on the Navy’s Web site at: http://www.nsa.naples.navy.mil/risk/index.cfm.


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