Residents on Chicago's Southeast Side have been fighting the toxic effects of the area's industrial legacy for decades. In 2014, their organizing efforts led to a massive win when regulators cracked down on companies storing heaping piles of petcoke, which for years had blown thick clouds of lung-damaging black dust across the neighborhood. 

Within months, however, air monitors set up to measure petcoke emissions began picking up another, even more dangerous pollutant: manganese, a heavy metal used in steelmaking that can cause brain damage at high exposures.

Since early 2017, WTTW News has chronicled residents' fight against this latest toxic threat. The reporting, which has been cited by members of Congress and environmental advocacy groups, has produced more than 40 stories, including:

  • Federal and city violations and fines issued to polluting companies
  • A citywide ban on future manganese operations 
  • Studies examining the impact of manganese exposure on children
  • The failure of companies to reduce manganese emissions and control piles of manganese dust

A full list of stories in the series can be found here.