• Warning about using wire cleaning brush


    PITTSBURGH - Channel 11’s Katherine Amenta has a warning for anyone who uses a wire cleaning brush while cooking.

    “It felt like I had a fishbone in my throat,” said Steve Hooper.

    The only problem was, Hooper wasn't grilling fish. And that bone was actually a wire bristle from a cleaning brush.

    “It got stuck in the hamburger…so you felt it go down,” said Hooper. “I thought I could cough it out, gag it out, eat a piece of bread, whatever.”

    The wire was stuck in the back of his throat and Hooper headed to the ER.

    “His was completely lodged in there,” said Hooper’s doctor, Michael Srodes with Metropolitan ENT, UPMC. “So it was not visible.”

    After two surgeries, they were finally able to dig it out, thankful it didn't get past his throat.

    “That can lead to infection in the stomach, which can lead to a big problem,” explained Srodes.

    Sounds like a freak accident, but Channel 11 learned that in 2012, the CDC issued an alert after six cases were found at one Rhode Island hospital.

    There is a warning on the front of the brush. It says grill bristles may detach or become loose during use.           

    “They put the warning label on the thing and you think, that doesn't apply to me,” said Hooper.

    Steve is fully recovered and back to grilling, with a wooden paddle to clean the grates.

    But we found out, some old bristles are in the grill.

    If you do use a wire grill brush, you should inspect it every two or three months and replace it when it gets worn down.  Also, check the grill for loose wires and wipe it down with a wet towel.  Or, just avoid wire brushes all together and get something that's wood or stainless steel.

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