US health officials say at least 22 toddlers in 14 states are sickened by lead after consuming lead-tainted apple and cinnamon apple puree products.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of November 7, there were cases of infection in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The CDC said that in the reported cases, children between the ages of 1 and 3, at least one child had blood lead levels eight times higher than the worrying level.
According to the Associated Press, there is no safe level of lead exposure, but the CDC uses a blood level of 3.5 mg/dL to determine that children have higher than normal levels of lead in their bodies.
In the cases recorded in the 14 states in the US mentioned above, the amount of lead in children's blood ranged from 4-29mg/dL.
Reported symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in activity levels and anemia.
The incident occurred shortly after a series of children's fruit puree products from the WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis brands were recalled last week. These pureed fruit products were sold in stores as well as online.
According to experts, parents and caregivers should not buy or let children use these brands of pureed fruit bags. In addition, children who have eaten mashed fruit related to the recall list should be tested for lead levels, because many affected children may not show symptoms.
Lead exposure can lead to serious learning and behavioral problems. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, heavy metals such as lead can enter food through soil, water, air or industrial processes.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says short-term lead exposure can cause symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, and anemia. Long-term lead exposure can lead to: irritability, lethargy, muscle pain, constipation, exhaustion and weight loss.