U.S. health authorities are cautioning healthcare professionals to remain vigilant for potential instances of lead poisoning in children, following the reported illnesses of at least 22 toddlers across 14 states. These cases have been linked to contaminated pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce.
The affected children, aged 1 to 3, exhibited varying blood lead levels, with at least one child showing a level eight times higher than the threshold of concern, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While there is no safe level of lead exposure, the CDC employs a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than typical. In this outbreak, the affected children’s blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter.
Common symptoms reported include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in activity level, and anemia. The tainted products are associated with a recall of pouches of fruit puree marketed for children, specifically from the brands WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree and Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches. These products were available in both physical stores and online.
Health officials strongly advise parents and caregivers not to purchase or serve these products. Children who may have consumed them should undergo testing for lead levels, even if they exhibit no symptoms, as lead exposure can result in severe learning and behavioral issues. The contamination may occur when heavy metals like lead infiltrate food products through various means, such as from soil, air, water, or industrial processes, as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
You can also read: “Freak Accident” Claims Life of Ice Hockey Player Adam Johnson
As of November 7, reported cases have been documented in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.