Environmental Health


Environmental health includes the conditions we live in that we cannot individually control, but that can affect our health. These conditions include the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. St. Louis County Public health works to provide guidance and education on reducing environmental hazards in our homes and communities. Our staff work with residents to help identify potential areas of concern, such as lead, mold, radon, tickborne diseases, animal bites and rabies risk, and public health nuisances.

Animal Bites/Rabies Risk

Rabies is a disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. It is caused by a virus and is typically spread by an infected animal biting another animal or person. An infection with rabies is nearly always fatal if treatment is not started before the appearance of symptoms. To learn more about rabies, click HERE.  


While the risk of contracting rabies in St. Louis County is low, a person who has been bitten should contact their healthcare provider immediately to determine what treatment is recommended. St. Louis County public health provides follow-up on reported animal bites and assesses the risk of rabies transmission. Our staff will contact both the person who was bitten AND the animal owner, if applicable, to evaluate the situation and make formal recommendations.  


To report an animal bite to St. Louis County Public Health, click the link below.

 Animal Bites Reporting Form

Public Health Nuisance

A public health nuisance is defined by Minnesota law as any activity or failure to act that adversely affects the public’s health. Although some situations may qualify as a public nuisance, not all situations are a public health nuisance.  A public health nuisance is one that may affect health or disease. For example, a yard full of clutter may seem unsightly to look at, but it does not affect human health nor harbor disease. A few examples of a public health nuisance could be: 

  • Insect or rodent infestations 

  • Clandestine drug manufacturing 

  • Unsafe living situations that affect children or vulnerable adults 

  • Improperly stored waste 

Our Public Health staff provide education, investigation, and follow-up for public health nuisance complaints within St. Louis County. If you have a potential public health nuisance to report, either call the public health mainline nearest you or complete the Public Health Nuisance Report Form. It is important to note that we cannot take anonymous complaints or reports. A name and contact information are required with all reports. 


To report a natural or human-caused emergency that may have a serious public health consequence AFTER regular business hours, call 9-1-1.  

Public Health Nuisance Report Form


Tickborne Diseases

 A variety of diseases may be spread by ticks in Minnesota. Most tickborne diseases result from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. You can decrease your chance of being exposed to tickborne disease by knowing what to look out for and taking a few preventive steps.  

Click HERE to learn more. 


Lead is a naturally occurring metal that can cause negative health effects. Children younger than 6 years of age are more likely to be exposed to lead and lead dust due to their hand to mouth behavior. This, along with their developing nervous system, makes children under 6 years of age vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure. Common sources of lead include lead-based paint and lead dust, soil, food and spices, water, and traditional or cultural medicine and cosmetics. To learn more about common sources, click HERE.  


St. Louis County public health provides education, investigation, and follow-up for children and pregnant people with elevated levels of lead in their blood. To learn more about lead exposure and testing opportunities, click HERE

Other Environmental Risks To Be Aware Of

  • Asbestos - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Mold - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Radon - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Wildfires -click HERE to learn more.  

  • Minnesota Beach Monitoring - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Foods, Pools, and Loding Services - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Food Safety - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Drinking Water Safety - click HERE to learn more.  

  • Reporting a Suspected Foodborne/Waterborne Illness - click HERE



Public Health