The Scary Reason You Should Never Use A Wire Grill Brush
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Grilling season is nearly upon us, and we couldn't be more excited. While we're absolutely jazzed at the idea of a perfectly grilled hot dog or juicy steak, there's a popular grilling tool that's come under fire due to the danger it poses.
A medical professional on TikTok recently warned of the life-threatening dangers of wire grill brushes, the tools used to clean grill grates, in a video that has been viewed well over 30 million times.
"One of the most interesting cases that I've had to date is a four-year-old boy who was at a barbecue eating when he suddenly grabbed his ear and started crying, complaining of ear pain. They brought him to the emergency department and he has a totally normal exam," explained TikToker @Beachgem10, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor.
After days of constant pain, a CAT scan uncovered that a piece of wire from a grill brush was lodged in the child's peritonsillar tissues.
"And we got our answer on the CAT scan. He had about a two-centimeter metal wire that was lodged in the peritonsillar tissues on the right and he started to develop an abscess around it," said @Beachgem10. "And he had been eating a hamburger when this happened, so the grill brush—the metal wires on the grill brush—had become lodged in the hamburger. And when he ate the hamburger, it became lodged in the soft tissues."
@Beachgem10 went on to advise viewers not to use the tool. Not only can the metal wires from a grill brush get lodged in throat, it can also result in bowel obstructions and perforations.
Commenters on the TikTok shared their own harrowing stories about wire grill brushes. User @melissac120812 wrote, "My son got a grill brush piece stuck in his throat at 1.5 years old, scariest experience of our life."
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the dangers of wire bristles in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that dates back to July 6, 2012. According to the CDC, "awareness among the public, manufacturers who make wire grill-cleaning brushes, and retailers who sell these products can reduce exposures and decrease the likelihood of further occurrences."
Before you avoid grilling altogether, know that there are still plenty of ways to clean your grill without using a wire brush. Delish Food Director Robert Seixas suggests using balled up aluminum foil. Simply crumple aluminum foil into a ball and use tongs while the grates are still hot to wipe up any residue. Commenters in the TikTok suggest using an onion to clean it. Or you can of course buy a wire-free grill scraper, like this one from Grill Rescue.
Happy (and safe) grilling!
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