Lead contamination in applesauce pouches has led to a national recall and 22 poisoned toddlers. Only 3 brands are recalled. But the cases span 14 states, causing widespread concern.
What should you know about lead poisoning? And are your kids at risk?
Which Applesauce Pouches Are Part of the Recall?
The recall only affects 3 brands of applesauce pouches:
And within these 3, only the cinnamon flavored pouches are part of the recall. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you throw out any of these apple cinnamon pouches you may have at home.
The amount of lead in these pouches can cause acute lead poisoning. That’s why this recall is a big deal.
How Can Acute Lead Poisoning Affect My Child?
“Lead is a systemic toxicant with no health benefits that has only a harmful effect on the body,” explains Chris Holstege, MD.
While chronic lead poisoning affects many children, acute lead poisoning is much rarer. Holstege adds “Single exposures rarely cause problems, unless a large lead foreign body is ingested and retained in the body.”
Acute lead poisoning shows up quickly. It can cause:
- Strange behavior
- Loss of consciousness
- Death (very rarely)
If you think your child has acute lead poisoning, you can also call poison control or take them to an emergency room.
Worried About Lead Exposure?
Your pediatrician can test your child to see if they're being exposed to lead.
While the only treatment for chronic lead exposure is removing the source, there are treatments for acute lead poisoning.
Hospitals can give medication for severe lead poisoning cases. This medicine binds with the lead so the body can pass it. 'Chelation' is the name for this process.
Unfortunately, the chelation medicines used don’t just bind with lead, but also to other essential minerals. This can cause serious side effects. That's why providers test lead levels before using this medicine.
What Should Parents Do Right Now?
The first thing everyone should do is check their shelves for the applesauce in question. If you find it, toss it.
Make an appointment with your pediatrician if your child isn't showing signs of acute lead poisoning, but you’re worried about lead exposure. The blood lead level test is a simple blood prick. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you if your child’s lead level is too high.