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Montana health officials: Monitor kids for possible lead poisoning

At least 22 toddlers in 14 states have been sickened by lead linked to tainted pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce.
Applesauce Recall Lead Poisoning
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HELENA — The Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is urging doctors to monitor for possible cases of lead poisoning in children.

At least 22 toddlers in 14 states were sickened by lead linked to tainted pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce as of November 7, 2023.

Montana isn’t among the 14 states with confirmed cases, but the products were sold at Dollar Tree stores in Montana prior to the recall announcement. They have since been removed from the shelves. However, the products are also sold nationally through multiple online retailers.

The following products were recalled:

  • WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches
  • Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches
  • Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches

“If you think your child may have consumed recalled fruit pouches, you should talk to your child’s health care provider about getting a blood test for lead,” said DPHHS Public Health Physician Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek. “These products also have a long shelf life, so consumers are advised to check their homes and discard these products.”
There is no safe level of lead exposure, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels higher than most.

According to DPHHS, the reported symptoms of children with lead poisoning may include — but are not limited to — headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a change in activity level and anemia.

Cook-Shimanek said children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults because their nervous systems are still developing. Although children with lead exposure may have no apparent acute symptoms, even low levels have been associated with learning, behavioral, and cognitive effects.