21 July 2016

Be careful if you clean your barbecue grill witih a wire brush

"When Deborah Zvosec fished around in her mouth during dinner and pulled out a small grill brush bristle one recent evening, there was a terrifying moment around the table as her two guests looked down and found their own metal fibers sticking to the chicken and potatoes...

Zvosec went to Hennepin County Medical Center the day after the May 27 dinner because she felt discomfort. Imaging scans found a 1.7 centimeter wire segment embedded deep in her tongue near the back of her throat.  The south Minneapolis woman spent five hours under general anesthesia...

The hazard of a wire grill brush was news to Zvosec and her husband, Dr. Stephen Smith. But one of the first alerts came in 2012, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a cluster of six patients who received treatment at a Rhode Island hospital system.

Injuries ranged from a “puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain on swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring [emergency] surgery,” according to the CDC.  The report triggered talk of federal legislation and safety guidelines or recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, but nothing materialized.
More details at the link.


  1. The CDC alert was in 2012, but it started in 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6126a4.htm Injuries from Ingestion of Wire Bristles from Grill-Cleaning Brushes — Providence, Rhode Island, March 2011–June 2012

  2. Clean your grill when you aren't using it like you would any cookware OR use a damp cloth when the grill is cold, followed by a heating the grill up and scrapping it with a wooden spatula/spoon.
    I never licked those wire brushes because you can actually see pieces break off and stay on the grill.


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