From 2002 to 2014, the University of Missouri School of Medicine calculated that nearly 1,700 people were injured by accidentally ingesting wire bristles from grill brushes. The majority of injuries found were to the mouth and throat.
When these brushes are used to clean a grill’s surface, wire bristles can come loose and stick to the grill. Unless a person knows to check for any loose bristles prior to using a grill, wire fragments can end up inside food and unknowingly eaten. “This issue is likely under-reported and thus underappreciated. Because of the uncommon nature of wire bristle injuries, people may not be as mindful about the dangers and implications,” said Dr. C.W. David Chang, the lead author of MU School of Medicine’s study.
To keep your family safe, the authors of this study advise grillers to check all wire-bristled brushes prior to use and to throw away any with loose bristles. Also, carefully examine the grill for any bristles that may have already fallen.