Ah, summertime: The long, hot days full of glorious sunshine. The too-short evenings spent out on the deck with a cold brewski or twoski. The delicious, piping hot burgers right off the grill. The excruciating mouth and throat lacerations.

Wait, what was that last one?!
“A Wire Brush Upon Your Grill Can Later Maim & Wound & Kill”

A recent study by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine has found evidence of nearly 1,700 injuries caused by loose bristles from wire-bristle grill brushes between 2002 and 2014—injuries significant enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.

As any good grillmaster knows, a wire brush is probably the best and easiest way to clean the grates of your grill betwixt uses. But, as the brainy Tigers’ study states, “Loose bristles can fall off the brush during cleaning and end up in the grilled food, which, if consumed, can lead to injuries…” The most common types of injuries are those to the mouth, throat, and tonsils.

Some of the 1,698 injuries identified by the Mizzou team were so severe as to require surgery. And, as one of the researchers, David Chang, noted, swallowing a loose bristle could cause even more damage—even death—were it to get lodged in an intestinal wall or elsewhere in your internal organs.

Eating a piece of pointy wire is dangerous, you say? Thanks, doc. Groundbreaking stuff.
So Fresh, So Clean (Brush & Grill, Respectively)

What’s the best way to prevent the loose-bristle scourge from destroying everything you hold dear? Well, you can start with just paying the hell attention to what you’re doing. If you’ve cleaned your grill with a wire brush, give the grates a good once-over when you’re done to see if there are any loose bristles. If there are, get rid of ‘em, obvs.

It’s also suggested that you replace your wire brush regularly. Regularly refreshing your brush will help you avoid the loose bristles that come with age and use. Instead of using standard “grill brushes” that are labeled as such, people should switch to heavy-duty industrial brushes that are made for heavy-duty cleaning. Those suckers will last forever and pretty much never lose bristles because they’re specifically designed to not do so. #brushtechnology

I hope youse are prepared for this to become the panic of the season, because it almost surely will—it’s the new bird flu. Nothing like getting bent waaay out of shape over something that’s very easily preventable and not even that much of a problem to begin with. After all, 1,698 injuries over a dozen years is only 141.5 injuries per year. Considering how many people in these United States eat food cooked on a barbecue grill every day, that’s actually a shockingly low number.