MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities factory says it’s stopped a problem that caused lead poisoning in kids.

The state temporarily shut down Water Gremlin in late October after some workers unknowingly tracked home lead. The plant in White Bear Township restarted operations a week later under court oversight.

Water Gremlin was court ordered to make changes to improve employee hygiene and to clean the facility to rid non-work areas of lead. The goal was to eliminate lead migration, and prevent more kids of employees from being exposed to the toxic metal.

In court, the judge commended the company’s reported 97% compliance with employee lead spot checks on hands, face, hair, neck and footwear.

“I’m particularly pleased with the employee response and how well they’ve been doing,” Judge Leonardo Castro said.

And so, the manufacturing plant that makes fishing sinkers and battery terminal posts can now reduce those checks to solely footwear.

Since the parties were in court last month, WCCO discovered a dozen more kids had been impacted by lead linked to Water Gremlin.

“Is this acceptable to have more kids impacted by lead?” reporter Jennifer Mayerle asked Carl Dubois, Water Gremlin VP of International Manufacturing.

“It’s not,” Dubois responded. “That’s why the company has worked so aggressively with our consultants advising us, with our employees to implement clean exit strategy and we’re confident we’ve put a stop to lead migration.”

Longtime customer Walmart has decided to no longer carry Water Gremlin products. Dubois said he hopes to earn the significant business back and has been open with customers about what’s going on.

Jennifer Mayerle

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