Grill Brush Safety

This summer, grills are heating up along with the weather. No matter if you are the “grillmaster,” or just an attendee at a BBQ event, there are some important safety tips to remember, and some that might be new.

Most people are aware of heat, fire, and explosion hazards when working with or around gas or charcoal grills. However, most people don’t realize that accidental ingestion of grill brush bristles causes intense pain, and urgent surgery is required to remove the bristle. There are currently 130 cases per year. In the past, the CDC has made cases public to warn people and increase awareness about this hazard. Despite that warning, the number of incidents is still growing.

The brushes with metal bristles used to scrape the grill pose a real danger. The metal bristles can come off easily while cleaning the grill—especially when using older, worn brushes. A small metal bristle on the grill, hamburger, or hot dog goes unnoticed as easily a hair on a salad. Once ingested, the wire can get stuck in the throat or perforate the intestine, where it can get infected.

Prevention is Key

Prepping the grill should be done very carefully. If a wire grill brush is used for scraping the grid, the whole grill could be wiped off with a clean, damp, light-colored towel to knock any bristles into the lower part of the grill. Further prevention would be to use a non-metal or non-bristle grill brush, like some of these alternatives.

As an added prevention measure, if a bristle brush is used to clean the gill, the “grillmaster” should always inspect the meat (or other grilled items) before serving them.

Don’t end up in the ER after a cookout! Awareness and prevention of this issue will help make your summer event safer–even if you have to check your own burger.