When the weather is nice, practically everyone gets out their barbecue and opt for grilling to eat outdoors. You certainly take the time to thoroughly clean the grill, removing the accumulated dust and grime. But have you ever thought that you may be using cleaning products that can be hazardous to your health?
The deadly grill
To enjoy the good weather the Fiore family decided to light the barbecue and prepare burgers for dinner. A few seconds after taking a bite of his first hamburger , the six-year-old son, Anthony, immediately had a very sore throat. The family could not understand what was wrong with Anthony, so they rushed to the hospital to get the necessary care.
After 12 hours, Anthony had to have surgery after being transported to another hospital named SickKids. SickKids surgeons found a needle-like wire in Anthony’s throat. Fortunately, they were able to successfully dislodge the wire that apparently came from a barbecue grill cleaning brush. The surgeons told the Fiore that they have already met patients with these kinds of wires lodged in their throats and that this was not at all rare, and that the situation was very likely to be fatal.
After removing the wire from Anthony’s throat, the doctors continued to monitor his injury to ensure he was safe from an infection, which could easily be caused by bacteria found on the wire metallic.
According to Dr. Alain Duval, if you end up swallowing a piece of metal like this without removing it quickly, then it makes a hole in the bowel that could put the life of the person in danger. In fact, according to the same doctor, one patient had the same case for two weeks and he had serious complications and more surgery. Anthony was lucky to be operated early.
The Fiore family has not been barbecuing since Anthony’s incident, and Anthony’s mother, Nadia, admits that her son is terrified of eating food coming out of a grill . Nadia deliberately released her son’s incident and most details of her hospitalization in the hope that other families would become aware of the situation to avoid the same thing for them or their children.
Prevention is better than cure
Experts suggest replacing grill cleaning brushes when they look worn or tangled. The safest way to avoid such incidents is to completely avoid the use of metal brushes. A new way exists to clean your grill, for example by lighting it up and letting it sit for several minutes with the lid closed, then using a potato cut in half? Simply rub it against the grills to remove all traces of dirt. The starch in the potato will cover the grill and keep it cleaner longer.
Danger of grilling
Scientists also warn of other risks associated with the use of barbecue grills. Research shows that cooking meat on the grill can expose you to a high risk of cancer, including colorectal, breast, gastric and pancreatic cancers.
According to Karen Collins, nutrition consultant for the American Institute for Cancer Research , two carcinogenic compounds can be formed when meat is cooked on the grill: HCA and PAH.
HCAs, or heterocyclic amines, are formed when animal proteins are exposed to intense heat.
PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, form in smoke and settle on the meat. Most often, this occurs when the fat from the meat falls on the charcoal or other heat source, which causes smoke to form.
Despite the research, according to Collins, it is too early to say if the risk is equal for all. Research suggests that genetic differences may put some at greater risk than others despite the same exposure.
The risks of using the barbecue can be mitigated by following a few simple steps. Collins suggests that since HCAs are really a reaction to intense heat exposure, it is possible to reduce this by simply reducing the temperature and increasing the cooking time for the food to cook slowly and in a healthy way.