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EPA Cites S.H. Bell for Manganese Air Pollution in Chicago

Contact Information: 
Josh Singer (

For Immediate Release: No. 16-OPA078

(CHICAGO) August 7, 2017—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a notice of violation against S.H. Bell Co. for excessive manganese emissions from the company’s southeast Chicago facility.

“EPA is committed to protecting public health in southeast Chicago by ensuring S.H. Bell complies with the Clean Air Act,” said Patrick Traylor, Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA required the company to do additional monitoring which revealed the exceedance.”

EPA determined that manganese emissions exceed the health-based screening level at the S.H. Bell facility, 10218 South Avenue O, Chicago. Four months of air monitoring data from the S.H. Bell facility for March 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017, show an average concentration of 0.32 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) of manganese. The minimal risk level for chronic inhalation exposure to manganese is 0.3 µg/m3. The company submitted the data to EPA on August 1.

Manganese is a naturally occurring element found in many soils, rocks and foods, and is used in the production of steel and other industrial processes.  Manganese can be toxic when inhaled by humans at elevated exposure levels, leading to neurological and neuropsychological damage.

EPA has notified the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the City of Chicago and community groups.

EPA has posted the air monitoring data online along with additional information about S.H. Bell in Chicago: