The latest risk assessment report says that Health Canada has decided against banning the sale of wire-bristle barbecue brushes, and is instead leaving brush safety mostly in the hands of industry and grillers.
The agency looked into what it should do after receiving more than two-dozen reports since 2004 of people getting injured after ingesting bristles that had come loose from barbecue brushes.
“I’m very frustrated with their decision,” said Beverly Smith, a nurse in Red Deer, Alta., who suffered a perforated bowel in October after accidentally ingesting a two-centimetre-long metal wire that came off her grill brush.She said Health Canada ought to ban sales of wire-bristle brushes.
Smith said, “They have to come off the shelf.It’s not safe. It’s hurting people.”Smith suspects the metal wire she ate was stuck in a burger.
Dr. Martin Owen, the family physician who treated Smith at the walk-in clinic, says swallowing a bristle can be a matter of life or death, and is “absolutely something that needs to be operated on in a very timely fashion, within hours.”
He said he wants Health Canada to “step up” and get wire-bristle brushes off the market entirely.
He added,”I would like to see all of these brushes off the shelves so that no other Canadians get hurt by these products the way my patient did.”
The 2 page report by Health Canada’s risk management bureau recommends asking industry to “take steps to reduce the risk of bristles detaching.” And for Health Canada to update its website with grill brush safety information and to share safety tips on social media.
Health Canada spokesperson André Gagnon said, “Health Canada is always monitoring the situation and if there is any new information that comes to light, the agency will review.”