ROME – Researchers may have figured out what makes la vita so dolce in Rome. A report from Italy's National Research Council released Thursday found that there are traces of cocaine and cannabis in the air of the Eternal City.
The institute made the discovery during a study of toxic substances in the air of Rome, Taranto, in the heel of boot-shaped Italy, as well as in Algiers. The results found that in Rome, there were traces of cocaine and cannabis — as well as nicotine, caffeine and benzopirene, which is commonly released in cigarette smoke and auto emissions.
"The highest concentrations of cocaine were found in the center of Rome and especially in the area of the University of La Sapienza," said Dr. Angelo Cecinato, who led the investigation.
Researchers can't say for sure why the high concentrations were registered in those locations, but Cecinato stressed that the findings didn't necessarily mean that cocaine and cannabis are more heavily used there.
The report said the maximum concentration of cocaine in Rome — 0.1 nanograms per cubic meter — was five times less than the legal limit for toxic substances in the air. Nevertheless, researchers said even the small amount was reason for concern.
There were small traces of the drugs found in Taranto and none in Algiers, the researchers said.