Written by Katie Piacentini Friday, 15 June 2012 12:01
In light of recent news from Consumer Reports, which stated metal bristles from grill-cleaning brushes can break off and then become embedded in food cooked on the grill, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a safety review on whether metal bristle grill brushes are safe for consumer use.
On May 21, Consumer Reports gave recent examples of two men – one from New Jersey and one from Washington State – who were hospitalized and forced to undergo emergency surgery to remove metal bristles from their stomachs after accidentally eating grilled food that contained bits of the bristles. According to reports, the New Jersey man had to undergo surgery to remove a metal wire that was one and a half inches in length and to repair a hole in his large intestine that was caused by the metal wire. The Washington man also had a metal wire that had broken through his intestines, which doctors found after giving him a CAT scan. According to Consumer Reports, doctors could not remove just the wire alone – they also had to remove a half-foot of his small intestine.
On May 28, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Chuck Bell, programs director at Consumers Union, called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FDA to launch a review of whether the bristles are safe and also to issue warnings to consumers about the dangers of ingesting these metal grill bristles.
“Metal bristles are one topping no one wants on their burger,” said Schumer. “Grilling season should be a great time for the whole family, not a time to be worried about an emergency visit to the hospital. I urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FDA to launch a safety review of these products and warn consumers about their potential dangers. I’m also urging consumers to use caution when using these metal grill brushes this summer to avoid more accidents like these.”
Stating that Consumers Union strongly supports Schumer’s call for a federal safety review of metal grill brushes, Bell said, “We urge the CPSC and FDA to issue safety advisories to warn consumers about the problem, and to initiate any appropriate follow-up actions including product recalls, if particular products are found to be unsafe or defective. While the injuries involving these products may be relatively rare, they can be very serious when they occur. We urge the CPSC and FDA to promptly investigate the problem and act quickly to protect consumers.”
Schumer also sent a letter to the CPSC and the FDA, urging them to begin a safety review. In the letter, he asked for the CPSC to review hospital injury data to determine whether there is a pattern of injury that would require a product recall.
In addition, Schumer asked them to evaluate whether manufacturers or importers have failed to report product-safety-related information as required by law. “As you know, manufacturers and importers have an obligation to report a potentially hazardous product – a product containing a defect which creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death – to the CPSC immediately,” Schumer stated.
Schumer also asked the CPSC and the FDA, in his letter, to take immediate action, such as an advisory on their websites, to warn people of the risk of serious injury from accidentally ingesting the metal bristles from grill brushes.