Summer barbecue season is here and the hazards of outdoor grilling are making the news. For some time now its been known that grilling meat can create certain carcinogens. Last month a man suffered serious burns when his spray-on sunscreen ignited while he was grilling. And numerous people have become seriously ill after ingesting wire fibers from grill cleaning brushes.
Hard to swallow
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just issued a warning about swallowing bristles from wire grill-cleaning brushes. The grill brush wire warning was issued because it has become apparent that swallowing wire bristle fibers embedded in barbecued meat is fairly common. When the cook scrubs the grill the bristles break off, stick to the grill and get picked up by the meat.
A dozen cases have been reported at a Rhode Island hospital, with injuries requiring emergency surgery ranging from punctures in the soft tissues of the neck to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract. Doctors used a colonoscope to remove a bristle in one patient with a perforated large intestine.
Proper grill cleaning
You can lower your risk of such an unfortunate circumstance by wiping down the grill with a wet paper towel after you brush it. Better yet, consider a nylon brush or a grill stone. And always inspect the grill before you light the flame.
Research has found that barbecued meat can contain a couple of different carcinogens. Heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) can be formed when the grill is too hot. HCAs have been associated with colon, breast and prostate cancers in several studies. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be formed when fat drips onto the coals and smoke imbues the meat with the vaporized PAHs). PAHs can also form on the charred surface of the meat.
Get the most enjoyment out of your summer barbecues with a clean grill and moderate flame. Trim the fat off the meat and marinate as much as possible. Marinade ingredients like vinegar can reduce the formation of carcinogens. In one study, steak marinated in teryaki sauce had between 45 and 67 percent lower HCAs than unmarinated meat.
And if you spray on sunscreen, let someone else do the cooking.