U.S. health officials are urging the public to be vigilant for possible lead poisoning cases in children, following an outbreak linked to contaminated cinnamon apple purée and applesauce pouches, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At least 22 toddlers — ages one year old to three — across 14 states have been affected by the issue, with one child exhibiting a blood lead level (BLL) roughly eight times higher than the CDC’s threshold for concern, the agency said in a Monday health alert. The CDC considers a BLL of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter as indicative of higher exposure in children.
The outbreak is linked to recalled pouches of WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit purée and Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce. Parents and caregivers are advised not to buy or serve the products to help prevent children from getting lead poisoning. Children who may have consumed the food products should be tested for lead, the CDC said.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 14, 2023
The affected toddlers had BLLs ranging from four to 29 micrograms per deciliter, per the CDC. Reported symptoms have included “headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia.” There is no known safe level of lead exposure in children, and even without visible symptoms lead poisoning can lead to significant learning and behavioral problems in children, the news release further added. (RELATED: ‘Off The Charts’: ‘Lucifer’ Star Tricia Helfer Says Hair Extensions Gave Her Lead Poisoning)
The contamination of the apple products with heavy metals such as lead is often due to environmental factors including soil, air, water, or industrial processes. The affected states, as of Nov. 7, include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, per the release.