Public Works & Utilities

Education & Resources

Get the Lead Out

The City of Duluth is focused on bringing awareness of lead exposure to those at risk, and mitigating the hazard of lead for affected residents.



Health Effects

Children - Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child.

Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:

  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Lower IQ and hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Anemia

Pregnant Women - Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as maternal calcium and is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is particularly true if a woman does not have enough dietary calcium. Lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus to lead. This can result in serious effects to the mother and her developing fetus, including:

  • Reduced growth of the fetus
  • Premature birth
  • Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk

Adults - Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:

  • Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)

Minimize Your Risk

  • Let your water run up to a few minutes before using for drinking, cooking, food preparation, and baby formula
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking, and baby formula
  • Use an NSF/ANSI 53 OR 58 filter or filtration system to remove lead from the water
  • Clean faucet aerators regularly
  • Boiling water does NOT remove lead

Healthy Water Habits Fact Sheet

Additional Links

MN Dept of Health:


NSF - National Sanitation Foundation: