City to investigate manganese exposure on Southeast Side

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Monday, August 7, 2017

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A dangerous pollutant that can damage the nervous system has been detected on Chicago's Southeast Side.

On Monday the Chicago Department of Public Health announced the launch an investigation into the impact on people's health in the area.

"Ensuring that residents are breathing clean air is our top priority," said Chicago Department of Public Health, Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita in a statement. "We are committed to completing thorough and rigorous study so we are able to then make data-informed regulatory recommendations as needed."

Manganese is a naturally-occurring heavy metal used in steelmaking. It's also an essential nutrient in small doses and is found in whole grains and green leafy vegetables. However, inhaling manganese in large amounts is hazardous.

The city announced it's conducting a study that will allow them to make data-informed decisions about future regulations, legal changes and appropriate response.

The city will also begin increased inspections at industrial sites on the Southeast Side.