While preparing your holiday cookout, think about this: Beware wire bristles that may linger on the grill next time you bite into a burger.
Cleaning Off Your Grill:
With grilling season underway, many people are cleaning off their backyard barbecue grills. Wire brushes are a popular tool for this dirty chore.
Be Wary of Wire Bristles:
But a new study published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery shows that small wire bristles left behind after cleaning the grill can get caught in the meat and cause injuries.
Emergency departments have treated nearly 1,700 patients with damage to their mouths, throats and tonsils. The injuries ranged from cuts and punctures to infections. Some were severe.
How to Get Your Grill Clean:
The lead researcher suggests that fragments of wire can pose a serious hazard. To avoid it, he suggests using a nylon-bristle brush or even a balled-up piece of aluminum foil for grill cleaning. Another option would be to use a strong sponge and plenty of detergent, water and elbow grease.
The otolaryngologists are not the only ones concerned about stray wire bristles. A report in The American Surgeon (May 2016) documented patients whose intestines were damaged by grill brush bristles. The authors recommend replacing grill brushes at least every two years. Better yet, find another way to clean the grill.
You may be interested in our radio show from a few years ago in which we first discussed the risks of injury from wire bristles, as well as ways to reduce possible carcinogens in meat cooked on the grill.