Health Canada reviewing safety of barbecue brushes
Health Canada is conducting an investigation into the safety of wire-bristle brushes used to clean barbecues, with plans to conclude the probe by the end of the summer.
The agency said the risk assessment on the brushes comes after it has received nine reports of injuries from wire bristles since 2011.
The assessment started in April and should wrap up in August, said Tyler Goodier, unit head of mechanical and physical hazards in Health Canada’s consumer product risk management bureau.
“What we’re looking at here is: ‘are some brushes worse than other brushes? Is this just a matter of brushes wearing out over time? How can we tell the difference?” Goodier said.
The agency’s website warns that there is a risk of bristles getting lodged in food and swallowed, especially with older brushes.
Medical professionals have warned that injuries from swallowing wire bristles are uncommon, but sometimes serious enough to require surgery.
Recalls of the brushes or stopped sales are a possibility depending on the assessment’s findings, said Goodier.
But even if investigators find that wire-bristle barbecue brushes are harmful, Goodier noted that they might not be pulled from shelves.
An outright ban would be quite rare, Goodier said.In 2015 a 39-yearold Brantford woman, Melinda Mouldey, required emergency surgery after an 11.3 mm bristle lodged deep in her throat.
Dr. Natasha Cohen, a resident at St. Joseph’s Hospital, told The Spectator that “the further down it goes, the more damage it can cause.”
In 2014 there were about a dozen surgeries of varying complexities at St. Joseph’s to remove wire brush bristles.