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Christian Flores/MEDILL

Petcoke concerns won't blow over for Southeast Side residents

by Christian Flores
Apr 29, 2014


Christian Flores/MEDILL

Southeast Side residents wear face masks to protest an ordinance that would allow companies to continue storing petcoke.


An ordinance that would allow companies to store petroleum coke, also called petcoke, passed the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Tuesday. The full Chicago City Council is expected to vote on it Wednesday. Some of the city's biggest petcoke storage facilities are on the Southeast Side. Residents want the petcoke out of their communities and staged a protest over the weekend, before aldermen passed the ordinance. Residents say the petcoke in the air has led to increased respiratory illnesses.


We tried to contact KCBX Terminals, a petcoke storage facility in the East Side. The company's website includes this statement: "Petroleum coke was not found to be a carcinogen, nor was it found to adversely effect developmental or reproductive systems. Possible effects are generally limited to the respiratory system. These same effects are commonly associated with exposures to general dust particles and are not directly attributed to petroleum coke."