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Water

Volume XI, Number 3 | summer 2018

Miscellany

Analysis of lead pipe from the buried city of Pompeii revealed in 2017 that the Roman water supply may have had high levels of antimony, a toxic element likely used to increase the pipes’ strength. “It’s bigger than the diarrhea,” said an expert in archaeological chemistry about antimony’s possible effect on the population. “It’s the decline of the Roman Empire in 476.”

Water has many ways of reminding us that when we are in it we are out of our element.

—Christopher Hitchens, 2008

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