Wanabana Lawsuit Filed by Parents of Two Children Diagnosed with Lead Poisoning from Contaminated Applesauce Pouches

Both children required extensive treatment for lead poisoning from WanaBana applesauce pouches, and face an increased risk of developmental problems

WanaBana faces another lawsuit over high levels of lead contamination found in its recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches, which have been linked to hundreds of lead poisoning cases across dozens of states.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Nicole Peterson and Thomas Duong in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida on January 25, seeking to pursue damages on behalf of their two minor children, who developed lead poisoning after they consumed tainted applesauce pouches.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first issued a WanaBana lead poisoning warning to consumers on October 28, 2023, after an investigation led by North Carolina health officials identified the products as a potential lead exposure source among four children who developed lead poisoning after consuming them.

A WanaBana applesauce pouch recall was issued the following day, after sample testing detected extremely high lead concentrations in several lots of the cinnamon-flavored variety. The applesauce recall was expanded a week later to include additional products distributed under Weis and Schnucks brands, after investigators also identified elevated lead levels in those cinnamon-flavored fruit products, and a growing number of WanaBana lawsuits are now being pursued by families of children nationwide.

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Lead Poisoning Lawsuits

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Last month, investigators found the recalled applesauce pouches were also contaminated with high levels of chromium. While the FDA was unable to determine what form of chromium was present, officials indicate the levels of lead and chromium found are consistent with those seen in lead chromate. Some manufacturers have been known to add lead chromate that contains toxic chromium (VI) to give spices a brighter color and appear to be higher in quality than they really are.

According to the latest investigation update issued last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches have now been linked to at least 93 confirmed lead poisoning illnesses, 269 probable cases and 37 suspected cases, which have been identified in 43 different states.

Applesauce Lead Poisoning Lawsuit

In the latest WanaBana lead contamination lawsuit, Peterson and Duong allege their two children suffered from catastrophic long-term injuries, including lead poisoning, after they consumed several contaminated applesauce pouches between March and August 2023.

According to the complaint, the parents purchased the WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches for their two children from a Dollar Tree store around February 2023.

In June 2023, blood testing during an annual exam confirmed elevated blood lead levels of 10.2 micrograms per deciliter in one child who was approximately one year old. Testing during the other three-year-old child’s annual exam also determined elevated lead levels of 12.4 micrograms per deciliter in her bloodstream. Testing on Peterson and Duong revealed normal blood lead levels.

The children were tested again in August 2023, after testing ruled out lead exposure from the plaintiffs’ home and the children’s daycare center, which showed lead blood levels had nearly doubled among both children since their last visit only two months prior.

After eliminating certain items from their diets, plaintiffs realized the children regularly consumed what they believed to be were healthy fruit puree pouches. North Carolina health officials sent the WanaBana products out for lead testing and discovered the cinnamon-flavored pouches had lead levels of 1.9 milligrams per kilogram. Plaintiffs indicate the acceptable lead level limit is 0.1 milligrams per kilogram.

Both children required extensive treatment to remove the toxic lead from their bloodstreams, as well as medical and developmental monitoring due to their young age of exposure, the complaint indicates. Since removing the cinnamon applesauce products from their home, the blood lead levels of both children declined considerably and only recently dropped to single digit numbers.

Childhood lead exposure can cause developmental delays, learning deficiencies, behavioral issues, stomach problems, hearing loss, and even seizures. Early detection and treatment for lead poisoning related complications is required because both minor children were exposed to toxic lead during stages of important development.

As a result, both children need to see physicians regularly for chelation treatments to remove lead from their bloodstreams, as well as routine blood lead level and developmental testing throughout their lives.

The complaint requests compensation for damages in excess of $50,000 and joins a growing number of lawsuits filed against the manufacturer and distributors, over children who suffered from elevated blood lead levels and faced other long-term health complications associated with exposure to toxic lead found in the applesauce.

Lead Poisoning Risks

Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can cause permanent brain damage, nervous system injuries, cognitive impairment, physical disabilities, or other long-term health consequences. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, as they are still developing and do not usually show exposure signs or symptoms.

While short-term exposure can cause headaches, abdominal pain, headaches, vomiting, or other minor symptoms, longer exposure may result in more severe symptoms, including lethargy, muscular weakness, confusion, or tremors.

According to pediatricians, there is no safe lead exposure level for children, and any exposure may increase the risk of developing serious or permanent injuries, or even death.

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