Loose bristles can fall off the brush during cleaning and end up in the grilled food, which, if consumed, can lead to injuries in the mouth, throat and tonsils.

The most common injuries were found in patients' oral cavities, throats and tonsils, with some injuries requiring surgery.

"If the bristle passes through those regions without lodging itself, it could get stuck further downstream in places like the esophagus, stomach or the intestine. It can get stuck in the wall of the intestine, causing further internal damage," said David Chang, associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Missouri in the US.

Individuals need to inspect their food carefully after grilling or consider alternative grill-cleaning methods such as nylon-bristle brushes or balls of tin foil, the researchers suggested in the paper published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

"Wire-bristle brush injuries are a potential consumer safety issue, so it is important that people, manufacturers and health providers be aware of the problem," Chang added.

The team identified more than 1,698 injuries from wire-bristle grill brushes reported in emergency rooms in the US between 2002 and 2014. Individuals need to be cautious when cleaning grills with wire-bristle brushes, examining brushes before each use and discarding if bristles are loose.

Also, one needs to inspect the grilled food carefully after cooking to make sure bristles are not stuck to the food, the authors noted.

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