Cleaning Grills With Loose Wire-bristle Brush May Cause Serious Health Hazard

grill-brushA good quality wire brush is priority number one when it comes to cleaning of your grill. You need to be a little extra cautious when cleaning your barbecue grill with a wire bristle brush, suggests a new study.

Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine say people using grills need to be aware of the risks when cleaning with a wire-bristle brush, and especially if it is worn out.

According to them, the loose bristles that falls off the brush during cleaning could cause serious health hazard. A loose bristle that falls off the wire brush, plants itself on the grill and end up in the food, which, when consumed, may cause injuries in the mouth, throat and tonsils, they said.

The 12-year study identified more than 1,600 injuries due to wire-bristle grill brushes reported in emergency rooms since 2002. In order to determine the number of bristles-related injuries reported in A&E departments, the UM researchers reviewed consumer injury databases recorded between 2002 and 2014.

They found, a total of 1,698 injuries from wire-bristle grill brushes were reported, the most common of which were injuries in patients’ mouths, throats and tonsils. In some cases even a surgery was required post sustaining their injuries, they found..

“Wire-bristle brush injuries are a potential consumer safety issue, so it is important that people, manufacturers and health providers be aware of the problem,” said lead reviewer David Chang, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology at the MU School of Medicine. “If doctors are unaware that this problem exists, they may not order the appropriate tests or capture the correct patient history to reach the right diagnosis.”

“One little bristle unrecognized could get lodged in various areas of the body, whether in the throat, tonsil or neck region,” Chang continued. “If the bristle passes through those regions without lodging itself, it could get stuck further downstream in places like the esophagus, stomach or the intestine. The biggest worry is that it will lodge into those areas and get stuck in the wall of the intestine. The bristles could migrate out of the intestine and cause further internal damage.”

Chang recommends grillers to be cautious when cleaning grills with wire-bristle brushes. He emphasises on examining the brush before each use and suggests to throw away a worn-out wire brush.

To be on the safe side, he advises to use alternative grill-cleaning methods such as nylon-bristle brushes or balls of aluminum foil. As a precautionary measure, grillers must inspect grilled food carefully to make sure bristles are not in the food or stuck to it.

The study, titled “Epidemiology of Wire-Bristle Grill Brush Injury in the United States, 2002-2014,” was published recently in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.