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Wire Grill Brush Hazards

“Before you clean your grill we have a warning there are new concerns now after a six-year-old boy was hospitalized after ingesting wire bristles from a barbecue brush.”

“Worn out wire brushes can lose their bristles when they do they can stick to your grill and then your food. If ingested, they can cause serious health problems.Nadiya Cirelli remembers vividly how a backyard BBQ earlier this summer quickly became a medical emergency. She served her son a hamburger off the grill moments later he said something was wrong he was complaining about pain in his throat, and he wasn't able to swallow his own saliva. Six-year-old Anthony says he felt like a needle was stuck in his throat.”

There are so many stories like Anthony’s…

“Anthony was rushed to the hospital an x-ray found a tiny metal bristle that had fallen off the barbecue brush and stuck to a hamburger. He underwent emergency surgery”.

A study published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery estimates that between 2002-2014, more than 1,600 emergency department visits occurred as a result of wire-bristle brush injuries.

“A University of Missouri study called loose brush bristles a growing health problem some brushes do come with a warning. Premium brushes are less likely to develop loose bristles. There are also grill cleaners that don't use metal wires.”

The CDC issues this Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): Injuries from Ingestion of Wire Bristles from Grill-Cleaning Brushes — Providence, Rhode Island, March 2011–June 2012

“Cirelli says she will no longer use one and what happened to her son is a warning to others to be cautious when cleaning your barbecue. ‘I think these brushes shouldn't be on the market…they're quite dangerous".

How To Avoid Wire Grill Brush Hazards

Dr. Chang offers a number of tips to help avoid a visit to the emergency department.

  • Before cleaning your grill with a wire brush, check the utensil is in a good condition;
  • Use alternative cleaning methods, such as nylon-bristle brushes or wooden grill scrapers;
  • Check the grates of your grill before cooking food
  • Check your grilled food after cooking to make sure there are no loose bristles stuck to it.

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