• The Hidden Dangers of Grilling Outside

    May 21, 2018

    With the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching, you can bet a lot of us are planning a menu that includes an outdoor BBQ. But did you know that grill brush you use to clean your barbecue grill could pose a real risk? In fact, they've caused over 1,700 emergency room visits. A study in 2016 showed people are getting injured by tiny bristles that break off on grill surfaces, lodge in food and then are ingested. Dr. Elizabeth Redd, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, treats several patients every summer who've had the tiny wire bristles become embedded in their throat:

    Dr. Redd says the injury can be quite serious if not treated and usually requires surgery to remove the wire fragment.

     Although unusual, Dr. Redd says a wire bristle can also lodge in the stomach and cause a serious infection. But head and neck injuries are more common than abdominal injuries. If you suspect you’ve ingested a wire fragment after consuming food cooked on a grill, Dr. Redd says seek emergency medical treatment. So how do you protect yourself, friends and family? The American Academy of Head and Neck Surgery recommends:

    1. If using a wire-bristle brush, inspect it carefully and discard if bristles are loose.

    2. Examine the grill grate carefully before cooking; examine food before consumption.

    3. Consider alternative grill cleaning methods such as nylon brushes, pumice stones or tin foil and tongs can make suitable cleaning devices.

    For more information, you can also visit Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/wire-grill-brush-danger/