The Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is urging doctors to be on the lookout for potential cases of lead poisoning in children, even though the state was not one of the 14 states with confirmed cases. At least 22 toddlers in these states had fallen ill due to lead-contaminated pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce. These products were sold at Dollar Tree stores in Montana before the recall announcement, but they have since been removed from shelves. They are still available for purchase through various online retailers.
The affected products include the WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches, Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches, and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches. Parents should seek a lead blood test for their child if they believe they may have consumed the recalled fruit pouches, according to Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, Public Health Physician at DPHHS. She also urged consumers to check their homes for these products and discard them due to their long shelf life.
There is no safe level of lead exposure, but the CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels higher than most. According to DPHHS, reported symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in activity level, and anemia. Dr. Cook-Shimanek highlighted that children are more at risk of lead poisoning than adults because their nervous systems are still developing. Even low levels of lead exposure in children have been linked to learning, behavioral, and cognitive effects, even if there are no immediate acute symptoms.
In conclusion, parents should take precautions by seeking a lead blood test for their child if they believe they may have consumed the recalled fruit pouches or any other product containing high levels of lead. Consumers should also check their homes for these products and discard them due to their long shelf life. It’s crucial to be aware of potential sources of lead exposure and take necessary actions to protect ourselves and our families from its harmful effects on health and development.