By Melissa Healion, Public Relations Assistant
With the warm temperatures this summer nothing sounds better than enjoying a juicy cheeseburger hot off the grill. But if you’re not careful this tasty meal could turn into a horrifying trip to the emergency room.
It is common for many households to clean their grills with grill brushes, however, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wire bristles from grill-cleaning brushes are breaking off, getting cooked into people’s burgers or steaks and getting swallowed, causing a multitude of health problems.
The most common occurrences have been found to be wire bristles lodged in throats, stomachs, intestines, and other organs. When one woman swallowed a bristle, it went through her stomach and then lodged in her liver. Other concerns include a bristle puncturing the intestines, leading to the bacteria lining the gut to filter into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of widespread infection in the body. Additionally, some of the bristles have to be removed surgically, which always comes with possible complications.
Although this seems like a “this could never possibly happen to me” situation, it is something to take serious caution towards. Each wire on the brushes are approximately half-inch in length, short enough for an adult to swallow without noticing, but a potential choking hazard to a small child. It is important for there to be a raised awareness about this topic so that it can be prevented but also more easily identified by physicians and other health professionals.
Therefore, consumers are advised to continuously inspect their grills before firing them up this season. Make sure to keep an eye out for stray pieces of metal on your brush that could get stuck in food and replace worn-out grill brushes frequently or consider using alternative cleaning tools that do not use wire bristles.