October 31, 2019
Joint statement on Ramsey County Court proceeding
The Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and St. Paul – Ramsey County Public Health issued the following statement today regarding the court proceeding involving Water Gremlin, of White Bear Township.
Today the Ramsey County District Court granted our motion to extend the closure of Water Gremlin’s lead manufacturing operations. We appreciate the court’s acknowledgement of the health concerns and the decision to keep the operations off line while discussions take place. We are committed to working with the court and our partners to ensure that Water Gremlin implements and maintains the necessary steps to prevent lead poisoning of workers’ children.
We filed our petition due to the significant risk facing the children of the workers. Lead poisoning can cause learning, behavior and health problems in children. Lead exposure before or during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths. High blood lead levels in children can be difficult to detect and can cause harm to children’s nervous systems and brains. That is why it is important to have children tested even if they seem healthy. High blood levels do not cause fevers, and there might not be other symptoms.
As the court process continues, we will continue working together and with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help facility workers. Those efforts include providing employees with information about where to get help with employment services and where to get more information about health impacts. We encourage Water Gremlin workers to take advantage of the free lead testing and other resources we are offering to help them address this issue.
Free blood lead testing and employment services will continue to be provided on-site at Vadnais Sports Center today and Friday. Details are available in multiple languages at on Ramsey County’s Help for Water Gremlin Employees webpage.
Doug Schultz, MDH Communications
James Honerman, DLI Communications
John Siqveland, Ramsey County Communications