Environmental Health promotes the health, welfare, and safety of county residents primarily through the enforcement of Minnesota State and County Sanitary Code regulations.
Programs administered by this division include the following:
Minnesota Statute 145A states that a public health nuisance is “any activity or failure to act that adversely affects the public”. The Public Health Department investigates all complaints and takes appropriate action to remove the nuisance according to the procedures outlined in Minnesota Statute 145A.04 Subd. 8. To file a complaint, please contact the Public Health Department in your county.
Examples that could result in a public health nuisance citation are:
- Improperly stored solid waste, such as rotting garbage or dead animals.
- Insect or rodent infestations.
- Evidence of a meth lab or other clandestine drug manufacturing.
- Unsafe living situations (lack of sewage disposal or garbage house) that affect children and vulnerable adults.
Please note: Clutter or general poor housekeeping is not considered a public health nuisance. Accumulations of clothing, household goods, magazines or other examples of hoarding behavior are not necessarily a public health nuisance.
What is the difference between a public health nuisance and a public nuisance?
A public health nuisance is generally related to conditions that may affect one’s health or cause a disease, whereas public nuisances tend to be non-health related conditions.
Examples of public nuisances include:
- Excessive noise
- Open wells
- Animal control issues
- Long grass
- Leaking roof in a rental property, etc.
On average Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors with the largest percentage of time spent within their homes. Your home provides your family with comfort and protection; but your home may also have hidden health hazards, such as lead, mold and moisture, carbon monoxide, pesticides, and hazardous household products. Many homes also have safety hazards that may cause physical injuries, fires, poisonings, and other emergencies. Creating a healthier home, whether in new construction or in existing housing, has obvious benefits to your family’s health and well-being.
Keys to a safer healthier home include the following
- Radon: Radon is a colorless odorless gas resulting from the natural decay of uranium and is naturally occurring in Minnesota soils. Radon gas enters homes from the soil into your basement and home. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Short-term and long-term tests are available at your local Nobles County Public Health office.
For further information on radon, visit the following MDH web link:
- Mold: Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found virtually everywhere, including in homes, and are a part of the general dust found in homes. These spores can grow on building materials and furnishings if conditions are correct. Excess moisture is the critical factor in any indoor mold problem. Mold growth should not be tolerated in our homes. Eventually, the moisture and mold will damage what it is growing on, which may include both the building materials and personal belongings. The key to preventing mold growth is to prevent moisture problems.
For information on mold exposure and advice about finding and removing mold contamination, visit the following Minnesota Department of Health web link:
- Pests: Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice or cockroaches and asthma episodes in children. Bed bugs are another common pest problem. It is important to be careful in how you rid your home of pests as inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems. For example, pesticide residues in homes when used inappropriately may increase the risk for neurological damage and cancer.
For more information concerning pests and advice about treatments, visit the following Minnesota Department of Health web link; http://www.health.state.mn.us
Or call Nobles County Community Services at 507-295-5360 for any questions.