With the Summer grilling season in full force, the CDC has released a new report warning holiday cookout gurus to take caution when grilling. They have announced that recently, internal injuries have resulted from the ingestion of grill cleaning brush wires not only by children, but adults as well.

The report states that during July of 2009 and November of 2010, six different cases were brought to hospitals because of injuries from the brushes finding their way into people’s food.

The study goes on to say that between March of 2011 and June of 2012 six additional people suffered the same types of injuries – the patients’ ages ranged from 31 to 64, and 5 of the 6 cases were men.

Similar to the first series of people who went to the hospital with grill-related injuries, all 6 of these patients stated that they had previously been grilling and had used the same type of wire grill cleaning brushes.

The injuries varied and included perforation of the gastrointestinal tract, which required the patient to have emergency surgery, and less threatening injuries such as the neck tissues being punctured, which resulted in painful swallowing.

The CDC warns that awareness of these injuries is necessary in order to lower the incidents. They say that it is imperative to closely look at the grill before cooking, which will help to prevent the bristles from making their way into people’s food. They also state that it might be beneficial to consider other grill-cleaning products, to avoid these injuries altogether.

In 2010, some 80,000 patients were treated for ingestion of objects, and prior to 2012 there were only 2 cases reported of the grill brush wires making their way into people’s bodies.

As summer grilling gets underway this month, ED physicians, internists and radiologists need to be aware of the risks posed by grill cleaning brush wires so that cases of ingestion may be promptly and accurately diagnosed.

The very small bristles are not easy to visualize on plain radiographs and CT. The CDC informs that if necessary, CT scans of the pelvis and abdomen should be carried out with no oral contrast, which can make it impossible to see the wire bristle.

Written by Christine Kearney