Doctors need to be on the lookout for lead poisoning in children as the latest tally of kids exposed to the toxin after consuming pouches of cinnamon-flavored apple puree climbed to 22, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
In a health advisory the agency sent out to health care providers, officials said any provider who has such a patient should report it to local health authorities.
The agency added that it is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state and local partners to investigate the link.
But there are already clues: State labs have found “extremely high” levels of lead in certain lots of cinnamon applesauce pouches that have since been recalled by WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis.
In its initial alert on the recall issued late last month, the FDA said four children in North Carolina had been found to have high levels of lead in their blood that was linked to the WanaBana products.
Cases of high blood lead levels in children have now been reported in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The pouches were sold by retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree and Sam’s Club.
The FDA has warned families not to eat or serve these products and encourages them to throw out the pouches or return them to the store where they bought them for a refund.
Caregivers should take any children who may have eaten these products to have blood tests to check for lead exposure, the CDC added.
Lead is toxic to humans, particularly children, and there is no safe level of exposure, the CDC says. Exposure can cause developmental delays in children. Initial symptoms of lead poisoning may include head, stomach and muscle aches, vomiting, anemia, irritability, fatigue and weight loss, the CDC noted.
The companies involved are working to find the source of the contamination in these products, the agency added.
Visit the CDC for more on the dangers of lead exposure.
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