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Chicago bulk storage operator cited for chemical emissions

Risks of personal injury come from many causes in Illinois. These include causes that are not visible to the naked eye, such as exposure to toxins and chemicals.

In late July, the Environmental Protection Agency released data stating that a bulk storage operator on Chicago's Southeast Side had exceeded federal government thresholds for toxic manganese dust emissions. These findings came from air monitors at the company. The EPA also issued a violation notice against the operator for excessive emissions that violated the Clean Air Act. The company must respond to these charges within 30 days.

Manganese is a metal that is used in steel manufacturing. At higher exposures, it can impact brain and motor functions. It can also cause neurological symptoms that are comparable to Parkinson's Disease.

Regulators first detected potentially dangerous manganese dust levels near the operator's bulk store facility along the Calumet River last summer. The EPA required the company to monitor these emissions, which ultimately revealed that it had exceeded federal standards.

The EPA release of this data was the first time the agency located average manganese concentrations that exceeded standards. Almost 20,000 people, including 6,000 children, live within one mile of the facility, which is in a neighborhood comprised of predominately low-income and minority residents.

The company said that the hotter summer weather generated dust from various sources, including metals that are not from its products. It is still conducting monitoring and expects that manganese levels will register below minimal risk levels.

Victims of these types of exposures may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. An attorney can help victims obtain evidence and pursue their rights in a lawsuit.

Source: WTTW, "EPA Cites S.H. Bell for 'Excessive Manganese Emissions' in Chicago," Alex Ruppenthal, Aug. 7, 2017

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