HILLSDALE, Mich. – Local 4 Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester scored grills around Metro Detroit to see if others had the same problem.
He found loose bristles to be a common problem. When he ran a magnet through grills at a few homes in the area, the results were surprising.
Woody Gontina, of Royal Oak, has a typical barbecue routine when he cooks hamburgers and hot dogs.
But experts say an estimated 1,700 Americans went to an emergency room between 2002 and 2014 for ingesting bristles in food.
Most of the grills Help Me Hank tested had bristles that had fallen off wire brushes.
The bristles were found underneath the grates in the soot and char, but when Hank opened his grill, he saw a metal bristle right on the grate where the food goes.
How can we protect ourselves? There are other brushes that don't use metal bristles. You can also use bristle-free alternatives such as a grill stone or a nylon scrub pad.
You can also crumple up some aluminum foil and use it to scrub.
If you have to use a wire brush, make sure you're replacing it when you see bristles coming loose and be mindful of the way you're cleaning.
You cannot use a magnet to clean a grill. Help Me Hank used one simply to illustrate how many bristles can be found in a typical grill.
Hear from the people involved in the story on what they now use to clean their grills: