Surgeon wants metal BBQ brushes banned after dozens of injuries
An Ontario surgeon is calling on Health Canada to ban metal-bristle barbeque brushes as the number of serious injuries continues to grow.
In less than five years, Health Canada has received reports of 46 injuries caused by tiny metal bristles, which fall off the brushes used to clean grills and then end up being eaten.
Jim Seguin of Wasaga Beach, Ont., was forced to have surgery in April after he got a metal bristle stuck in his tongue while consuming steak.
In June, six-year-old Manitoba boy Kohen Hargreaves was hospitalized after a wire bristle got stuck in his throat while he was eating ribs.
The boy’s father, Aaron Hargreaves, says doctors told him it that it could have been a lot worse had the bristle made it into Kohen’s stomach.
Dr. Leigh Bishop, a surgeon in Guelph, Ont., says he’s seen metal bristles cause perforations in the stomach, the small intestine and an esophagus.
“A lot of people don’t recognize that they may have ingested a bristle at all,” he said. “It may be something completely symptomless until it perforates later in their digestive tract.”
Dr. Bishop said he thinks the metal bristles should be banned.
“Somebody could die needlessly,” he said. “These are products that don't really need to be on the market and there are safer alternatives.”
One of the alternatives is wooden scrapers. Newfoundland entrepreneur Jason Janes, who founded Juniper BBQ Scraper, says he has sold 100,000 of his all-wood scrapers.
Janes agrees that metal brushes are dangerous. “I don’t care if (people) buy my product, I just want them to stop using the wire brushes,” he said.
Health Canada has commissioned the Standards Council of Canada to develop new guidelines. They are expected to be out in the next 12 to 18 months.
In the meantime, Health Canada says to regularly inspect brushes for signs of damage, inspect grills and food for loose bristles, and stop using brushes if bristles come loose or stick to the grill.
With a report from CTV Medical Correspondent Avis Favaro and senior producer Elizabeth St. Philip