CDC warns doctors to watch for lead poisoning related to cinnamon applesauce as investigation continues

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning health care providers to be on the lookout for children who may have been exposed to lead after eating cinnamon-flavored applesauce products.

The CDC published an official health advisory Monday notifying doctors that as of November 7, 22 cases had been reported of children with high blood lead levels after eating pouches of cinnamon applesauce. The CDC encourages any provider who has such a patient to report it to local health authorities.

The agency says it’s working with the US Food and Drug Administration and state and local partners to investigate the link.

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.

Cases of high blood lead levels in children have 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 issued a warning last month after an investigation in North Carolina found four children with elevated lead levels. The one connection that local health experts found was WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches.

The FDA has warned families not to eat or serve these products and encourages them to throw the pouches out or take them back 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 exposure to lead.

Lead is toxic to humans, and there is no safe level. Exposure is not typically apparent right away, but it 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 companies are working to find the source of the contamination in these products. They are collaborating with the FDA, the agency said.

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