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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have alerted doctors to look out for possible cases of lead poisoning in children after 22 toddlers in 14 states were reportedly sickened by lead linked to contaminated pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce.
The affected children were between the ages of 1 and 3, and at least one child showed a blood lead level eight times higher than the level that raises concern.
The CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than most, but there’s no safe level of lead exposure.
The affected children’s blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter, and the reported symptoms included headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a change in activity level, and anemia.
The recall is linked to an outbreak of recalled pouches of fruit puree marketed to kids, including WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree and Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches, which were sold in stores and online.
The CDC recommends parents and caregivers not to buy or serve these products. Children who may have eaten them should be tested for lead levels, as lead exposure can lead to serious learning and behavior problems.
Heavy metals like lead can get into food products from soil, air, water or industrial processes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.