People are Seriously Injuring Themselves Using These Popular Grilling Items


While barbecuing is an American pastime, there are a lot of dangers in the process. One popular grilling item is slowly moving to the top of the list.

Everyone is familiar with the typical dangers associated with barbecuing, and cooking in general: burns and fires. ABC News reports that thousands of Americans are injured each year while barbecuing in their backyard. But did you know that your wire-bristle brush, used to clean the grill, can actually put your family in harm’s way?

Dr. David Grand, the lead author of a report on the subject, and a diagnostic radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital, has found many cases of serious injury from the use of these brushes.

“What was most striking about this collection is that we saw so many cases at just one hospital,” Dr. Grand said. “I started getting calls from around the country from doctors who had seen similar injuries in their patients.”

Mike Kempster, executive vice president, and chief marketing officer for popular grilling company Weber Grills also commented on the issue, stating: “We are aware that grill brushes can be a safety issue. But when I hear reports like this, my first question is always, how old is the grill brush?”

Bristles from the brushes are breaking off and getting stuck on the grill, then being transferred onto the food. People then swallow these wire bristles, and in many cases have to have surgery to remove them.

One woman posted about her ordeal, writing: “The surgery was almost 3 hours long, they finally found the wire bristle that was embedded in my esophagus and had already skin growing over it. This was one of the most terrifying things I have went through and it could be prevented if those weren’t sold!”

In another case, a six year old boy was rushed to the hospital after a bristle got stuck in his grilled hamburger, and became lodged in his throat.

“We knew something was wrong, and he was in extreme pain because he was crying,” said the boy’s mother, Nadia. “From the time we had dinner to the time we had surgery, it was about 12 hours later, because our journey started at the local hospital, and then we were transported to Sick Kids.”

A 2016 study revealed that nearly 1,700 injuries from bristle barbecue brushes have been reported in emergency rooms in the United States since 2002.

According to news outlet Life Shared, “They found out that the reason why this happens is that the metal bristles on the brush slowly become loose after being vigorously used several times. Once that happens, it’s easy for a loose bristle to get stuck on the grill. Then, when the raw meat is placed on it, the thin bristle gets stuck to the food which a person swallows unsuspectingly.”

Moral of the story: be careful what you clean your grill with, and make sure there are no bristles stuck to your grill before you start cooking. Better yet, just stop buying wire brushes.

Popular alternatives to a wire brush include wooden scrapers, tinfoil, coil brushes, pumice stones, or a various assortment of liquids like beer to remove rust, grime, and oil from your grill.


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