Environmental Health - Lead

Lead is a common metal, which has been used over the years in many consumer products. It can still be found in lead based paint and under some conditions in air, soil, household dust, pottery, food, plumbing pipes and components, and drinking water. If it is inhaled or swallowed, lead can build up in the body over time. If too much lead enters the body, it can damage the brain, nervous system, red blood cells, and kidneys.

Lead in drinking water can be a particular problem for infants who drink formula made with tap water. Pregnant women and nursing mothers also need to be concerned about the lead levels in drinking water, since it can be passed on to unborn children and breast-fed babies.

Common sources of Lead

  • Lead dust Household dust can contain lead from deteriorated, interior lead based paint or tracked contaminated soil. Lead dust can be created during remodeling or renovation projects, or when lead-based paint is not removed in a lead-safe way.
  • Lead-Based Paint Eating cracking, chipping and peeling lead-based paint is also a lead source for young children. Lead paint was used on the inside and outside of homes built before 1978.
  • Soil Soil can be contaminated with lead from deteriorated, exterior paint on homes, buildings, or fences. As the result of past use of leaded gasoline, lead can also be found in the soil near major roadways or intersections in urban areas.
  • Food Plants usually do not absorb lead unless there is a large amount of lead in the soil.
  • Water Lead levels in your water are likely to be the highest if your home or water system had lead pipes or copper pipes with lead solder.
  • Folk Medicine Many folk remedies contain lead and should not be used. Please talk to your doctor if you are using any of the following folk remedies that may contain lead: Alarcon, bali gali, empacho, Alcohol, bint al zahab, greta, Azarcon, cora, farouk, Ghasard, liga, Kandu, lozeena, Kohl, pay-loo-ah

Public Health Contact:

Sherburne County Govt Center
ATTN: Public Health
13880 Business Center Dr NW
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Office Location & Hours

Phone: 763-765-4000
800-433-5237
Fax: 763-765-4004

hhs@co.sherburne.mn.us