A court hearing this morning (9am) in Saint Paul after the state shut down Water Gremlin’s plant in White Bear Township, alleging workers’ children were poisoned by lead dust carried home from the factory. Employee Youa Thao says his children’s lead levels have been tested. “I feel safe…. I got six kids. I work there. I raise… [them]. Everything’s good — no issues about health,” he says.
But Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink says state law requires the company make certain its employees follow decontamination procedures. “There’s a language barrier here. There’s a cultural barrier here,” she says. “They are employing large numbers of temporary employees who circulate into their workplace — so then your vigilance on training has to be here.”
Officials say they want the plant to re-open as soon as possible, but employees and their families must be safe from lead poisoning. Water Gremlin is a major manufacturer of battery terminals.