Swallowed Grill Brush Bristles Posing Risk of Injury?

It was reported that from 2011 to 2012 six people were taken to the emergency department of Rhode Island Hospital with wire bristles from grill brushes stuck in their throats or internal organs. An article from ABC News suggests that the bristles may have dislodged from the brushes while the grill was being cleaned and later stuck to meat subsequently cooked on the grill. Presumably, the meat was then ingested along with the small, but sharp and potentially dangerous pieces of wire. These recent six cases appear to be the second wave of grill brush wire injuries, as in 2009 and 2010 the same hospital saw a different six individuals suffering the same problems. At that time, doctors reported the cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

While Dr. David Grand, the lead author of the report and a diagnostic radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital, was sure to mention that the number of reported grill brush related injuries was relatively low compared to the number of people using grills, there still seems to be a growing worry in the United States about the safety of brushes. Reflecting this national concern, Senator Charles Schumer of New York called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a federal review of grill brush safety. This request came after reports of two men, one from New Jersey and the other from Washington, who required invasive surgery after accidently swallowing a wire bristle.

The dangers associated with swallowing a grill brush bristle may be more severe than generally assumed. It is believed that even a small wire bristle can puncture the intestines, which may cause the bacteria in the gut to run into the bloodstream. As a result, the risk of widespread bodily infection may be heightened. Bristles can also tear and travel through larger organs, as in one case where the metal piece went through a woman’s stomach and became stuck in her liver. In the event surgery is needed to extract the bristle, there is always a risk of complications related to the operation.

While no single manufacturer has been identified as selling a defective product at this time, it is possible that a design or manufacturing defect is responsible for the dislodged and dangerous bristles. If you or a loved one has accidentally swallowed a grill brush bristle, you may be entitled to compensation for damages such as lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering from the grill brush manufacturer. In the event of such an accident, do not hesitate to contact the experienced product liability attorneys at Morgan and Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.