Triangle of Death

When the wind whistles down from the Car-pathian Mountains into the sprawling mining town of Baia Mare in northwestern Romania, it kicks up towering plumes of dust that penetrate cracked walls and coat the tiled roofs with a brownish film. Water tankers spray the streets in an attempt to damp down the dirt, while vegetable vendors nervously scrub their produce and mothers try to keep their children indoors. "The dust gets everywhere, in your mouth, your food," says a local retiree, 63. "When I mow the grass it's as if smoke was coming out of it." The worry is not cosmetic....

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