Can metal bristles from wire grill brushes actually be ingested? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Can metal bristles from wire grill brushes actually be ingested?

Cat scans show metal pieces from wire brushes in the digestion system. (source:CDC) Cat scans show metal pieces from wire brushes in the digestion system. (source:CDC)
Experts recommend alternatives to a wire bristle brush for grill cleaning. (Source: WOIO) Experts recommend alternatives to a wire bristle brush for grill cleaning. (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

When you clean off that grill the wire bristles could be more dangers to health than slightly undercooked food.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention control has been warning for years about this issue and it's been causing people to end up in the emergency room looking at surgery. 

The problem is, more than likely, your wire brush has been hanging on your grill getting rained on, snowed on and baked in the sun.

Over time it's not uncommon that it's going to break or worse yet the bristles starting to fall out. You scrape your grill, leave some bristles behind and then whatever you grill next picks up the bristles. 


Check here to see if your wire grill brush is safe


In 2012 the CDC studied one hospital system in the Northeast with two emergency departments. Looking at two different time periods, July 2009 to November 2010 and March 2011 to June 2012, they had a total of 12 cases where people swallowed metal bristles from brushes. Some required surgery because the metal pieces can puncture the digestive track. The CDC reports it can sometimes be hard to pick up the metal bristles on normal X-rays or CAT scan. 

The biggest recommendation from the CDC is to inspect your wire brush. Use a tool to pull on the bristles and see if any come out. If you decide to use it, wipe the grill down after with a soft cloth or towel that can collect the metal pieces. 

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