(AP) – U.S. health officials are warning doctors to be on the lookout for possible cases of lead poisoning in children after at least 22 young children in 14 states became ill from lead contaminated bags Cinnamon Applesauce and Applesauce.
Children aged 1 to 3 were affected, and at least one child had blood lead levels eight times higher than the worrying level Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
There is no safe limit for lead exposure, but the CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than most. The lead content in the blood of the affected children was between 4 and 29 micrograms per deciliter.
Symptoms reported included headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a change in activity level, and anemia.
The illnesses are part of an associated outbreak recalled bags Fruit puree for children from the brands WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree and Schnucks and Weis Cinnamon Apple Sauce Bags. The products were sold in stores and online.
Parents and caregivers should not purchase or serve the products, and children who may have eaten them should be tested for lead levels. Affected children may not show any symptoms, experts said.
Lead exposure can cause serious learning and behavioral problems. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, heavy metals like lead can enter food products through soil, air, water or industrial processes.
According to the CDC, as of November 7, there were cases in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.