As we dust off our grills for warmer weather, researchers are warning us to check your food before eating it, as it may be contaminated by the metal bristles of grill cleaning brushes. If swallowed, they can cause injury.
Wire-bristle brushes used to clean barbecues can cause serious injury if swallowed. A study published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery estimates that between 2002 and 2014, more than 1,600 emergency room visits occurred as a result of injuries caused by wire brushes.
While wire grill brushes can be an effective cleaning tool before or after a barbecue, bristles can easily fall out and end up in people’s food. If swallowed, these small metal strands can cause serious injury to the mouth, throat and gastrointestinal area.
A small, unrecognized silk can become lodged in various parts of the body, be it in the throat, tonsils, or neck area. If the hair passes through these areas without getting stuck, it can become embedded in the esophagus, stomach or intestine. The biggest concern is that it lodges in these areas and gets stuck in the wall of the intestine. The hairs could migrate out of the intestine and cause further internal damage. Injuries from wire brushes are a potential safety issue for consumers.
Be attentive before starting your barbecue
For their study, Dr. Chang and his colleagues wanted to get a sense of the extent of injuries from wire-bristle brushes in the United States.
To do this, they analyzed data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). From this information, researchers were able to estimate the number of emergency room visits that occurred due to wire brush injuries between 2002 and 2014. The team found that 1,698 visits occurred as a result of such injuries during this period. Most of these injuries were to the mouth, throat and tonsils, with some requiring surgery.
The researchers note that the incidence of injuries from wire brushes between 2002 and 2014 is likely even higher, because the researchers did not consider injuries reported by urgent care centers and other health care facilities. outpatient care. The researchers hope their findings will help raise awareness among manufacturers, consumers of the potential health risks associated with wire brushes.
How to avoid injuries from wire brushes
As barbecue season approaches, a time when wire brush injuries are most likely. Here are a number of tips to avoid an emergency room visit.
– Before cleaning your grill with a wire brush, check that the utensil is in good condition. Throw it away if there are any loose hairs.
– Use other cleaning methods, such as nylon bristle brushes.
– Check your grill grates before cooking food.
– Check grilled food after cooking to make sure there are no loose hairs.
If precautionary measures fail and people experience swallowing problems or pain after eating something that has been grilled or barbecued, they should seek medical or emergency care and let the doctor know that they attended a barbecue or simply grilled food.