Summertime means outdoor grilling for many people, but a new study cautions against one of the activity's less obvious dangers.
According to a news release, researchers with the University of Missouri School of Medicine determined that there have been "more than 1,600 injuries from wire-bristle grill brushes reported in emergency rooms since 2002."
These tools are a common way to scour the grates, but, as the release states, "loose bristles can fall off the brush during cleaning and end up in the grilled food, which, if consumed, can lead to injuries...."
The team assessed consumer injury databases to identify 1,698 related cases that were treated by emergency departments between 2002 and 2014.
The bulk of the damage occurred around the mouth, tonsils, and throat, and surgeries were required in some patients.
One of the researchers, David Chang, notes that swallowing a metal bristle could cause an even more critical health risk if it were to get lodged in the intestine wall or another area along the digestive tract.
As such, he recommends that people inspect their grills, brushes, and food for any related hazards.
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