Grill cleaning brushes bad for your health? March 02 2014

Sure onions can make you cry, but those grill-cleaning brushes could just kill you...

Wire bristles from grill-cleaning brushes can shed, embed in food, get swallowed, and send you to the emergency room.

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report describes six cases where people ended up tin the ER between March 2011 and June 2012 after ingesting a wire bristle from a grill-cleaning brush.

The same hospital system previously reported on six cases that occurred in 2009 and 2010. In that previous series of cases, injuries ranged from a puncture of the soft tissues in the neck to a Gastrointestinal perforation.

In three of the most recent cases, severe pain on swallowing was the main symptom, and in these three cases a wire bristle was removed from the soft tissues in the neck.

In the remaining three cases, severe abdominal pain was the chief symptom. In these cases the bristle was lodged near or embedded in the colon. Two patients had to undergo surgery for removal and the third underwent a colonoscopy to retrieve the bristle.

Fortunately, all six people recovered successfully.This suggests that the problem of ingesting wire bristles after cleaning the grill is more common than previously suspected.

At the moment it's not clear if this is a greater problem with certain kinds of brushes or if it is more common with different cuts of meat.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reviewing safety data on grill cleaning brushes to see if a pattern of injury exists.

You are urged to carefully examine any grill surface before use or switch to an alternative grill-cleaning method or product. Like an onion cut in half.