Gas-Filtering Underwear Traps Odors

A product intended for people with digestive disorders may have wider appeal.
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Get your giggles out now. Okay. A U.K. company called Shreddies Ltd. has been getting buzz lately for its underwear that absorbs the odor of farts. (The company’s motto is “Fart with confidence.”) The back panel of the underwear contains a layer of “advanced carbon cloth”—the same material used in chemical warfare suits. According to the Shreddies website, the cloth is able to filter out odors that are 200 times stronger than a normal person’s gas.

Washing the underwear “resets” them, so to speak, and the company claims they remain effective for two to three years.

The company also sells washable incontinence underwear, and received a “Look Good Feel Good” award from the Association for Continence Advice in 2009.

The average human farts between 10 and 20 times a day. Depending on your approach to dealing with that, this product that could relieve a lot of everyday embarrassment.

If could seems a little silly to buy special underwear for this reason, and the ads certainly make it look silly, but there are those for whom Shreddies’ self-classification as a “medical solution” makes perfect sense. Those with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease may pass gas more than usual, to the point where it becomes an inconvenience. Chemotherapy can also sometimes bring extra flatulence as a side effect, due to bowel cramps or disruption of intestinal bacteria, just one more indignity for cancer patients to suffer.

The solution doesn’t come cheap, though—a pair of men’s boxers costs about $45, and women’s briefs run around $31. 

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Julie Beck is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Health Channel.

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