A 6-year-old boy from Ontario, Canada, required surgery after a bristle from a wire barbecue cleaning brush became lodged in his throat.
Anthony Fiore was enjoying a burger with his family earlier this summer when the incident occurred, media reports said.
As soon as Anthony bit into the burger, his mother, Nadia, realized something was wrong.
“It felt like a needle,” Anthony told CBC.
“We knew something was wrong, and he was in extreme pain, because he was crying,” added Nadia.
Anthony was taken to the hospital, where doctors were able to identify the problem.
“From the time we had dinner to the time we had surgery, it was about 12 hours later, because our journey started at the local hospital, and then we were transported to Sick Kids,” Nadia said.
Doctors are familiar with such incidents, but they are yet to find a guaranteed way of removing the bristle.
“It is so small and tiny to the naked eye, that even for a specialist to find it and grab it, it wasn’t that easy,” Nadia added to CTV News.
However, the 6-year-old then contracted a throat infection from the bacteria on the piece of wire.
“These stories have been happening as long as the brushes have been around,” Duff Dixon, of retailer Barbecue World, told CBC.
According to CTV News, a study earlier in 2016 by the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine reported 1,700 incidents of injuries in the United States caused by wire brush bristles since 2002.
“I hope to have these brushes removed from the shelves, have them banned,” Nadia added.
For those who choose to abandon the wire brush for cleaning grills, alternative pads and scrubbing blocks are available.
Measures can also be taken by people still using brushes to make them safer. Recommendations include checking the bristles every time it is used, replacing it if the bristles look worn or full of grease, wiping the grill with a damp cloth after cleaning to remove any bristles that may have come off, and keeping the brush indoors so it does not deteriorate rapidly.
Anthony is now fully recovered from his infection.