Every year millions of North Americans love having summer BBQ’s. It’s the perfect time to enjoy good food with family and friends outside. Everyone knows though that what comes after a hearty meal is a thorough clean-up. The greasy grime left behind after making burger patties, hot dogs, and juicy steaks can be really tough to remove.
If you own a barbecue, chances are you also own the cleaning brushes with wire bristles. This tool helps to remove all the gunk off the metal grills. However, surgeons in Canada are urging people to stop using this type of brush after many of their patients end up in the surgery room.
Six-year-old Anthony and his family were enjoying hamburgers from the grill when something didn’t feel right after he took his first bite this past June. The boy began to cry, prompting his parents to take him to their local hospital immediately. His situation escalated so quickly, he was transported to another hospital.
Doctors found one wire bristle stuck in the boy's throat. They removed the bristle but he was not out of the wood's yet.
The six-year-old developed an infection in his throat from bacteria found in the tiny bristle.
Anthony was lucky the surgeons were able to remove the bristle, not everyone has the same fate.
Doctors in Canada are urging people to stop using these brushes as they can get stuck in the throat and make its way down the body. One woman in Nova Scotia had several scans and two surgeries to try to remove the bristle. She still has it stuck inside her body.
Anthony's ordeal lasted 12 hours from the moment he took his one and only bite of his burger to having the surgery done.
Part of the problem is that there is no sure way to remove the bristles every time without causing further damage.
Dr. Ian Dempsey, an otolaryngologist, says the first challenge is finding the bristle which he compares to finding a needle in a haystack.
Dr. Dempsey said the surgery would be the equivalent of removing an acupuncture needle out of a grapefruit without actually touching or puncturing the fruit. “None of us have figured out a surefire way to get rid of them, so we’d prefer just to prevent it from happening in the first place,” Dempsey said.
There are other ways to clean your barbecue without having to risk ending up in the hospital.
1. Warm up the bbq to loosen all the grime. Use tin foil crumpled into a ball and using tongs to hold it, wipe the grill up and down.
2. Take half an onion and dip it in olive oil. Using tongs, wipe the grill down.
3. Use a steam brush or wooden brush.
The experience left Anthony traumatized to the point he is terrified of eating anything made on the barbecue.
His mom Nadia does not ever want to see those types of brushes around. “I hope to have these brushes removed from the shelves, have them banned,” she says.