WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP, Minn. — The number of children with high levels of lead from the Water Gremlin plant in White Bear Township is 24 — twice as many as previously reported.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday, Nov. 27, said additional children were identified since the factory closed on Oct. 25.
At that time, the state reported finding lead in 12 children of employees of Water Gremlin LLC, a factory that uses lead to make battery terminals.
The state shut Water Gremlin down, and ordered the company to prevent the spread of lead dust out of the factory. It has since reopened, and is setting up ways of controlling lead dust.
But now the state has identified 12 more children with elevated levels of lead, believed to have been accidentally carried by their parents from the plant.
The company faced $7 million in penalty fees in March, after officials discovered that the company emitted excessive amounts of airborne solvent for 17 years.
On Wednesday, state officials said they tested 51 present and past employees, and 33 of them have high levels of lead. None of them, however, had enough lead to trigger removal from the workplace under federal labor standards.
The department said Wednesday that 97 children of workers have been tested — and now 24 have elevated levels of lead.