Texas City family warns against popular grill tool

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A tool just about everyone uses to clean the grill could leave behind something that will land you in the hospital (KTRK)

A Texas City couple is warning people about the danger that may be left behind after cleaning outdoor grills.

Thomas Hatcher was injured after accidentally ingesting a wire brush bristle stuck inside his cheeseburger.

"I felt a sharp pain, a stabbing pain," said Hatcher.

His wife had just used wire brushes to clean a grill pan that sits on top of the grill grate.

Hatcher showed Eyewitness News his X-ray in which you can see the wire bristle lodged in his tongue. A doctor had to remove it during surgery Wednesday afternoon.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned the public about internal injuries caused by accidentally swallowing wire brush bristles used to clean grills. The alert was sent out in 2012 highlighting six cases in Rhode Island. The injuries ranged in severity from a puncture in the neck tissue that caused pain while swallowing to tears in the gastrointestinal tract that required emergency surgery.

Hatcher is thankful the wire he ingested didn't get past his tongue. Now he and his wife are warning others about the potential danger.

"It could have been so costly, so dangerous and life-threatening," said Gin Hatcher.

The CDC advises consumers to check grill surfaces for wires before cooking.

So far no specific brand of grill-cleaning brush has been identified as more likely to shed bristles, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been studying data on related injuries to see if some are more dangerous than others. As an alternative, here are bristle-free products available.
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