Education about the proper use and care of barbecue cleaning brushes may be needed, says the American Brush Manufacturers Association.

Canadian surgeons are recommending throwing out the wire-bristled brushes, after dealing with what appears to be a growing number of people getting wire bristles stuck in their tongues, throats, and even intestines.

David Parr, executive director of the American Brush Manufacturers Association, which represents close to 150 companies in North America, including some that make wire barbecue brushes, told CBC News that could be an over-reaction.

"It makes great press. It sounds great. It gets people fired up," said Parr.

"But these kinds of occurrences unfortunately happen on a fairly regular basis. And with a modicum of care and proper use I'd like to think [these] occurrences could be greatly reduced."

When not to use brushes

Parr said there are a lot of steps that could be taken to reduce the risk.

He said brushes should only be used for the job for which they were intended. "It would be of note to try to determine were those brushes really designed and manufactured as barbecue grill brushes?" said Parr. "How old were they? How much had they been used?"

Brushes that show signs of wear should not be used, he said, and the grill top should always be inspected before use.

"Maybe we need to be considering adding additional safety information along with the product to help educate people to use them properly, where there might be a risk if they are not being used properly," he said.

The American Brush Manufacturers Association would be happy to be involved in an education campaign, said Parr.

With files from Island Morning