AMA Urges Caution With Use of Wire-Bristle BBQ Grill Brushes

TUESDAY, July 3, 2018 — The American Medical Association (AMA) states that caution should be exercised with use of wire-bristle grill brushes due to the potential health and safety risks associated with bristles that may break off and adhere to the grill or cooked food.

The AMA adopted a new policy at its annual meeting last month, calling on the federal government to require warning labels on all wire-bristle grill brushes. Anyone who cleans their grill with a wire-bristle brush should be aware of the possibility that the bristles can break off and stick to the food being cooked on the grill. These bristles have been known to cause injury and can lead to a surgical emergency in some cases when ingested.

According to the AMA, between 2002 and 2014, more than 1,600 emergency department visits occurred as a result of wire-bristle brush injuries, approximately 130 per year. Based on a 2016 study, most of these injuries involved the mouth, throat, and tonsils; some injuries required surgery.

“We urge everyone to take simple precautions to avoid injury and prevent a trip to the emergency department, including wiping the grill down after using it and inspecting it for wire bristles before cooking food,” AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., said in a statement. “We wish everyone safe grilling and a healthy holiday!”

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Posted: July 2018

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