A warning if you plan to fire up the grill this holiday weekend. A Lakeland man discovered a hidden health hazard the hard way, and it could be on your grill right now.
“This is my little parting gift,” says Clif Hennecy. It’s a souvenir from the doctor's office that Hennecy never imagined his doctor would find stuck in his stomach during a routine checkup.
“It's just a tiny, little bristle, but it's stainless steel,” says Hennecy.
The Lakeland man says the metal bristle came from the brush he used to use to clean his grill.
“It's a scary proposition having one of those lodged inside your stomach. It can cause abscesses, and cause infections, and it can cause people to die,” Hennecy says.
Hennecy is not alone, The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received dozens of reported injuries from the bristles falling off grill brushes and getting stuck in food.
Anna Dunn swallowed a 1-inch wire in her hotdog and had to have surgery to remove it from her throat.
A bristle lodged in Cheryl Harrison's intestine. “It was just a pain I never felt before. I was totally shocked when it happened to me,” says Harrison.
The CDC warns about barbecue brushes with metal bristles. Grillmasters are urged to inspect old brushes, and if they're worn down throw them away or use alternatives like wipes or a grill stone.
“The first thing I did was come home and throw the brush away,” says Hennecy.
Now, he’s found another option: aluminum foil and salad tongs. “With the grill hot, everything kind of falls off of it,” says Hennecy.
Hennecy wants to warn others so your cookout isn’t a tough one to swallow. “It's something everyone needs to know, so you don't run the danger of getting something lodged in your gut,” says Hennecy.
So, how would you know if you swallowed a bristle? Doctors say you may not, unless it lodges in your body, then you'd probably have severe stomach pain.