It is summertime everyone’s favorite time for cookouts and family outings. Everywhere, the smell of ribs, steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill is in the air. But along with that wonderful smell is a lurking danger, and no I don’t mean the Muslim family that moved in next door and is threatening Jihad because of the smell of your pork spareribs is invading their home, it is something most of us don’t think about.
If you love to grill cook, you all know that from time to time during the process, you have to break out the brass or steel grill brush to clean the residue from sauces and meats off the grill. There in lays the problem. You see, those little bristles of brass or steal sometimes break off the brush and stick to the hot grill.
Before you put that prime cut or even hamburgers and hot dogs on to cook, take a moment and wash the grate off with soap and water. Otherwise you could be looking at a trip to the emergency room later in the day. Every year, hundreds of persons are admitted to the hospital with those bristles from the grill brushes embedded in their throats, stomachs and intestines. Many must have emergency surgery to remove them and have the damage repaired.
Adults and children alike are at risk from those pesky bristles that break off the brush when you clean your grills. One study found U.S. emergency rooms reported more than 1,600 wire bristle grill brush injuries between 2002 and 2014. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention morbidity and mortality report from 2012 highlights the issue, citing cases from March 2011 to June 2012. “The severity of injury ranged from puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain on swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring emergent surgery,” according to the report.
Just this month, there have been severalreports of wire bristle hospitalizations. One Canadian woman wrote a Facebook post pleading with people to never use a metal barbecue brush after her son got a bristle stuck in his throat. She wrote, “Just minutes after eating BBQ chicken last night Ollie started crying and complaining there was something stuck and hurting his throat. X-ray confirmed a few hours later that there was indeed a metal bbq brush bristle in my little boy’s throat. Throughout the 2 hours at the hospital Ollie couldn’t swallow and kept gagging and spitting.” The family now owns a wooden barbecue grill cleaner.
Dr. Mott Blair, a Wallace, North Carolina-based family physician, says there are things you can do to prevent this from happening to your family.
- Use alternative cleaners. Blair suggests using a cloth, or even clean the grill with an onion.
- Blair says you should examine your grilling apparatus often and ensure it’s in good servicing condition.
- If you like using a metal brush, use one that has a coiled pad rather than bristles.
- Inspecting the grill before you use it if you’re using a wire bristle brush and was it with soap and water before use.