Animal-hair shaving brushes, a grooming product coming back in vogue among trend-setting men, were once associated with anthrax, according to research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So if a man comes down with the infection, better known as a threat used by terrorists, we now have one more option to consider, though the risk is still pretty low.

During the First World War, there was a rise in imported, imitation badger-hair brushes that were actually made of horsehair. Many of the brushes were not properly disinfected and led to cases of anthrax in the United States and England.

“This historical information is relevant to current public health practice because renewed interest in vintage and animal-hair shaving brushes has been seen in popular culture,” the report states. “This information should help healthcare providers and public health officials answer questions on this topic.”

Read: FDA Approves Expanded Use Of Emergent BioSolution's Anthrax Vaccine

During World World War I, men’s animal-hair shaving brushes were linked with cases of anthrax. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

In the report, published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers reviewed outbreak summaries, surveillance data, and case reports. Nationwide surveillance data from 1919-1924 indicates contaminated shaving brushes accounted for at least 10 percent of all anthrax cases, and nearly half of the cases in New York City.

In 1921, researchers tested brushes sold by NYC street vendors, and the results revealed about 78 percent of them contained Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax. Since a majority of the brushes were infected, it would make sense to see a higher number of cases, but the researchers stated there wasn’t because of “man’s relatively high degree of immunity to anthrax.”

The CDC's report “serves to remind those interested in a return to natural grooming that use of untreated hair from horses, pigs, badgers, or other animals” poses a potential risk of getting anthrax spores into small cuts on your skin from shaving razors.

But, before you throw away your animal-hair brush, you should know that there’s little risk you’ll contract anthrax, especially if the brush was made after 1930. One of the reasons today’s brushes hold little anthrax risk is because of modern decontamination and import regulations.

See also: Tally Of Labs Accidentally Sent Live Anthrax By Pentagon Now At 51, 'May Rise'

Director Of CDC Lab Responsible For Potential Anthrax Exposure Has Been Reassigned