Keeping Children Safe from Lead
Lead is a bluish grey metal that can endanger your children’s long-term health. Exposure to lead can decrease your child’s intelligence, hearing and slow down growth.
Your children may be around lead and not even know it. Your child may seem fine, but lead can still be causing damage.
Lead Contamination in Food
Multiple states have reported potential cases to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of high blood lead levels (BLLs) in children consuming recalled applesauce containing cinnamon products that have high levels of lead. As of November 7, 2023, there are 22 cases, in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, ages 1 to 3 years, with BLLs ranging from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). Cases experienced signs and symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia.
The brand name of the products that contain the lead are WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis which have initiated voluntary recalls of certain lots of the following products:
- WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches
- Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches
- Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches
More information about the specific recalled products may be found on the FDA’s website.
Recommendations for Parents, Caregivers, Guardians
- Do not buy, eat, sell, or serve recalled cinnamon-containing applesauce pouch products because they may contain lead.
- Parents and caregivers of children who may have consumed recalled products should contact the child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test for lead.
Update on lead test results
On October 28, 2021, the Center for Disease Center (CDC) lowered the blood lead level (BLL) for when a child is considered poisoned from 5 to 3.5. If your child’s BLL is 3.5 or higher, you should:
- Contact your child’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) to follow up with any treatment/recommendations.
- Check that your child is up to date with immunizations and preventive screenings every time you see your doctor.
If you have any questions or need help making an appointment, call Member Relations at anytime at 1-800-553-0784 (TTY 1-877-454-8477).
How are children exposed to lead?
Lead is found in many houses built before 1978 and is commonly found in:
- Water from the faucet (tap)
- Toys made outside the United States (lead paint is used to color them)
- Baby furniture
- Plastic window blinds and other decorations and objects for the home
- Paint on walls/ fallen paint chips
- Old water pipes
- Swallowing dirt and other similar materials with lead.
What are the long-term effects of exposure to lead?
Lead poisoning in newborns and young children can lead to a variety of health problems including:
- Difficulty with learning in early years of life
- Inability to concentrate
- Hearing problems
- Blood problems like anemia
- Stomach ache
- Other serious health problems that can result in death
Lead is dangerous to your unborn baby
If you come in contact with lead while you are pregnant, you may breathe it in and pass it along to your baby. Exposure to lead can include possible complications such as:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Breathing problems
- Nerve or brain damage
Have your child tested for lead exposure
We recommend that your child be tested for lead exposure 9-11 months and ages 12-24 months. See your doctor or go to your local clinic to request this simple blood test.
If you need help finding a doctor, call Member Relations at anytime at 1-800-553-0784 (TTY 1-877-454-8477).
Tips to prevent lead exposure
- Run your tap water for one to two minutes before drinking or using it to cook.
- Wash toys, bottles and pacifiers throughout the day to keep them lead-free.
- Throw away toys you think may have lead paint or have paint peeling from them
- Make sure your children wash their hands many times a day.
- Clean dirt from your shoes and your children’s shoes before coming inside.
- Make sure your family eats food that are high in protein, vitamins and calcium like meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and dairy.
How to remove lead in your home
Don’t try to fix or remove lead in your home. If you think you have lead in your home contact your local health department’s lead program who may provide service at little or no cost.
For more information on lead clean up or removal call:
- Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) 215-685-2788
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Lead Information Line 1-800-440-LEAD (1-800-440-5323)
- National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (1-800-424-5323).