by Ned Hickson
According to the UNDER-TEC Corporation in Pueblo, Colo., each day there are millions of people around the world who find themselves trapped in elevators, small cars and copy rooms with people who are unable to meet gas emission standards.
This condition, known within the medical community as malodorous flatus (a Latin term meaning "The dog did it") has been a major focus for UNDER-TEC--an undergarment development company that, according to its website, has introduced "A new generation of protective underwear for flatulence" called Under-Ease.
What is this remarkable product, and how does it work?
I'm glad you asked.
The technology appears to be effective and simple. The underwear itself is made from a soft, air-tight nylon fabric with an "exit hole" (their term, not mine) cut from the back (good planning) that houses a special multi-layered filter.
This "exit hole" is important for two reasons. First, it forces the gas to be expelled through the filter. Second, and perhaps more importantly, without the hole, the air-tight underwear would fill up like a hot air balloon, eventually releasing the trapped gasses in one enormous burst (or fireball, depending on one's proximity to a lighted match or wood stove.)
The core to this new technology is the specially designed, multi-layered filter which covers the exit. Without this filter, all you really have is just another leaf blower.
What makes the filter so effective is its unique blend of Australian sheep's wool, polypropylene, spun glass and recycled car air-fresheners, all of which surround a single layer of activated carbon. All of this is sandwiched together into a thin filter (roughly the size of a pocket dictionary) that can be worn under regular trousers or dresses without detection.
It's important to note that the company discourages wearing the garment while bathing, swimming, soaking in hot tubs, or during any other water-related activities.
The reason for this is because of the filter's powerful absorbancy, which is roughly equal to dumping 60 cases of Brawny paper towels into an inflatable pool--a situation that could actually prove more embarrassing than a few well-timed bubbles during a game of water polo.
Under-Ease are guaranteed to last at least six months, which sounds reasonable--until you read the fine print, which includes the statement "under ordinary conditions."
I called the company to get a more detailed explanation as to what those "conditions" were.
In the interest of time, let me just say that if you attend happy-hour buffets more than three times a week, the guarantee won't mean much.
Also, keep in mind that the effectiveness of Under-Ease undergarments will be diminished should you somehow puncture, rip or tear them; in which case, flatulence is probably the least of your problems.
Just in case you're wondering what led me to pursue this particular topic, let me say that it has nothing to do with my personal life.
I just wanted to clear the air about that.