Accidentally Eating Bristles From Wire Grill-Cleaning Brush May Lead To Injuries

If you're planning on firing up the grill today for your annual Fourth of July barbecue, be extra careful about eating food off the grill after you've cleaned it with a wire grill-cleaning brush.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new report on six specific injuries that resulted from consuming wire brush bristles that became lodged into barbecued food. For some people, consuming the bristles led to soft tissue puncturing in the neck; another person had to undergo surgery after the bristle perforated the GI tract.

The six people were between ages 31 and 64, with five of them being men, the CDC reported. The cases were reported between March 14, 2011, and June 3, 2012.

Doctors were able to use scans to see the bristles in the body. In three of the cases, pain while swallowing was the main symptom; for the other three cases, pain in the abdomen was the primary symptom. Fortunately, all six people in the CDC report recovered.

News at JAMA reported that it's not yet known what kinds of brushes are more likely to leave behind stray bristles, nor what kinds of meat are more likely to pick them up. But in the meantime, it's important for people to be careful and extra-diligent about making sure no stray bristles are left on the grill after a cleaning.

Eighty thousand people visited an emergency department in 2010 because they consumed a foreign object, according to the CDC, with most cases occurring in children. These ingestions of foreign objects are usually only extremely serious in less than 1 percent of emergency department admittances.