A HIDDEN DANGER OF SUMMER GRILLING
As summer is winding down, grills are still heating up. Many of us love to cook out on our grill with family and friends. We know the risks of dealing with fire, flames, propane and lighter fluid. We know we must make sure the meat is cooked to a safe temperature. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns of another danger many Americans are unaware of –wayward bristles from grill-cleaning brushes.
Researchers estimate that between 2002-2014, there were a total of 1,698 wire grill brush injuries in emergency departments across the United States—about 130 cases per year. People of all ages are susceptible to wire grill brush injuries, but it is most common among people younger than 40, who make up 70% of all wire grill brush injury cases.
Most cases, as reported by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, are bristles that are lodged in the mouth or throat and can be taken out in the emergency room. There are rare events that a bristle travels to the intestine, which becomes much more serious. Here, there is a chance that the bristle could push its way through the wall of the intestine. Injuries sustained from wire grill brushes can range in severity from a puncture in the neck or gums that causes discomfort to perforations in the gastrointestinal tract, which requires immediate emergency surgery.
The CDC warns doctors that because the bristles are so small, they can be tough to see on X-rays and scans, so there needs to be a greater awareness of such injuries during the warmer months in order to improve diagnoses.
There are important steps that grillers can take to reduce this hazard:
- Wipe the grill down after using it, as well as inspecting the grill after cleaning to ensure that nothing is adhered to it—such as leftover food or grill brush bristles.
- Use an alternative to wire grill brush cleaners, such as brushes with nylon bristles or wire mesh brushes.
- If you choose to use a wire grill brush, take the time to look at the brush after each use, and if the bristles are beginning to fray, replace it immediately. The CDC does not have information on the brands of grill brushes that cause the most injuries, and therefore, cannot make safety recommendations.
Cleaning your grill is supposed to make cooking outdoors more sanitary, but all too often, a stray bristle from a wire grill brush can fall off of the brush and stick onto food. Ingesting one of these bristles can lead to painful and dangerous injuries. If you have been injured by a wire grill brush, you may have legal options, and the attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm are here to help.