West Kelowna  

Ban on BBQ brushes?

There is a renewed call to ban wire barbecue brushes, after another incident in Ontario where a man required surgery after ingesting a loose wire from a brush.

Health Canada has issued a warning about the brushes, but so far an outright ban hasn't been enforced. 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.

Dr. Leigh Bishop, a surgeon in Guelph, Ont., says he’s seen metal bristles cause perforations in the stomach, the small intestine and 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.

"One of the main problems is with cheap plastic head brushes that heat up and release the bristles which can get stuck on the grill," said Richard White owner of Whites BBQ & Fireplace Centre in West Kelowna. "For those who don't want the brush at all, there are lots of good wood cleaners mainly cedar, obviously with no danger of getting any bristles into your food." 

There are other products on the market, like the looped brush and brillo pad type cleaners.

"The main thing is to inspect your brush and clean your grill properly, and you won't have any problems." White adds. "A good quality wooden or composite wire brush is still a viable option, just avoid the cheaply made ones."

To see the Health Canada advisory on BBQ brushes click here.

– with files from CT Vancouver

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