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Concerns about mold in the galleries were first raised in 2014.

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Wandrille Potez, an art history student, has complained publicly about the appearance of mold across the recently renovated Picasso Museum in Paris, which he spotted during a visit, Le Parisien reports.

Concerns over the mold were first raised mere months after the museum’s reopening in October 2014, yet the museum claimed that the mold was not a risk to people or works in the museum and no action was taken to address the concerns.

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Recommended Reading Picasso Museum Reopens, Late and Over Budget By Henri Neuendorf, Oct 24, 2014.

However, this has led to many questioning why the museum’s renovation—which took fiver years and cost a whopping $66 million—did not take precautions to avoid mold, a common issue with Paris’s cold, damp winters.

The fungus problem is due to weak air circulation between the cold outdoors and heated interior galleries. In the museum’s first floor, 12 large period windows are now eaten by mold due to a particularly poorly designed double glazing.

“They are certainly period frames. But how can they allow it all to be degraded, two years after the end of the renovation?,” Potez told Le Parisien.

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With newfound knowledge, the work could soon be saved.

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A drawing in red chalk believed to be Leonardo da Vinci‘s self-portrait from ca. 1512 is one of the most prominent holdings in Turin’s Biblioteca Reale (Royal Library). But besides its masterful execution, there’s another feature of the priceless Renaissance work that has left art conservators scratching their heads for years: The reddish-brown imperfections marring the work, known as “foxing.”

Until recently, researchers could not specify whether this foxing was caused by a chemical reaction or a biological one, and refrained from making any attempts to restore the priceless artwork, as working without a clear identification of the culprit could lead to even more damage, Discover magazine reports.

A new study suggests the spotting is caused by both: A combination of chemical and biological processes which allowed fungus to thrive on the paper. The groundbreaking research, led by Guadalupe Pinar at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, may hold the key to the drawing’s possible restoration.

The scientists’ findings, published in December 2015 and which can be read online, point to prominent fungal involvement in the deterioration. The fungal communities found in the portrait stem from a DNA probe and even include one previously uncharacterized species.

However, Pinar suggests that the substantial biological involvement was enabled by a chemical reaction on the paper to dust-borne iron particles. These particles created points of damage, which were then inhabited by fungal organisms, which ultimately created the spots over centuries.

According to Discover, the drawing nearly escaped irreparable damage when, in 1987, a group of researcher suggested to soak the da Vinci portrait in ethylene oxide. While modern technology can offer clearer answers using non-intrusive methods, the treatment plans are still a work in progress.

Nevertheless, now that the culprit may have been named, efforts will be put into place to save the da Vinci drawing from disappearing under a cloud of mold.

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Take a look at this informational video.

Health Effects of Mold Exposure

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Mold can severely increase effects of asthma, here is a quick video by the CDC for some pointers regarding asthma:

Asthma Can Be Tackled

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