Billings readers may be surprised to learn about increasing reports of unexpected injuries stemming from one of summer’s most popular activities. The Center for Disease Control hopes to increase public awareness that the common grill cleaning brush may be a dangerous product. After seeing reports of 12 injuries from a single hospital over the past three years, the CDC wants summertime grillers to be aware that ingesting small bristles from grill cleaning brushes can lead to serious injuries including punctures to the soft tissue of the neck and perforations to the intestinal tract.

Because the CDC only has the reports of a single hospital to rely on at this time, the agency has no indication of the total number of people across the nation who may be hospitalized each year from ingesting brush bristles. The CDC says that the broken bristles can be very small and difficult to detect by x-ray or CT scan. The CDC hopes that raising awareness of the problem will increase the likelihood of doctors correctly diagnosing bristle injuries.

As yet, no particular brand or brands of grill brushes have been identified as particularly unsafe. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is examining hospital records in an effort to identify defective products and determine whether it may be advisable to issue a consumer safety warning or demand product recalls.

Many victims of grill brush injuries report experiencing intense pain when swallowing, though most go to seek medical treatment with no idea what might be causing their pain. Montana residents who experience unusual pain after eating grilled food may want to bear in mind the possibility of having swallowed a tiny fragment of grill brush bristle. By identifying the manufacturer and model of a dangerous grill brush, victims of bristle ingestion may be able to determine whether they are entitled to compensation for their injuries from the manufacturer of the defective product.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Summer danger: Swallowing bristles from grill-cleaning brushes“, Rene Lynch, July 6, 2012