Apparently this matters: Fart Leaking Underwear | CNN Business

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Editor’s note: Every week on CNN’s “Apparently This Matters.” Jarrett Bellini he applies his warped sensibility to trending topics on social media and random items of interest on the web.

Highlights of the story

Shreddies is flatulence-filtering underwear made in the UK

The designer used Zorflex, an activated carbon cloth traditionally used in chemical warfare suits

Bellini: They work


The other day I was engaged in a rather thoughtful conversation with one of my coworkers at CNN, an award-winning, Ivy League-educated journalist who is admired for her compassion and charm. He asked me to fart.

Now, I don’t want to embarrass this person by sharing his name, but he definitely was Jessica Ravitz.

The conversation went like this.

Jessica: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want you to.”

(I farted. He was silent.)

Me: “How are you?”

Jessica: “No! You didn’t!”

Me: “Oh, I did.”

Jessica: “Really? Really? I can’t smell anything.”

We give each other high fives.

You see, she was wearing Shreddies, a new flatulence-filtering underwear that recently made headlines all over the web. In fact, it was trending several weeks ago, and I was hoping to write about the product then, while it was still a big talker online.

However, I’m a serious journalist with literally hours of experience, and I felt it wasn’t enough to simply mention that these things exist. I actually had to try them.

So they sent me a new pair from the UK. At least I hope they were fresh.

Be that as it may, now they are not.

Finally, they arrived. And after a three-day trial on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, it’s finally time for some serious talk about farts. Which is great, because it’s basically my beat.

“We have breaking news! Bellini, you must fly to Pittsburgh immediately.

“Will this task require pants?”

So yes, we are talking about farts. And I apologize for nothing.

In fact, if you think this topic is rude or disrespectful, just consider a few words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Speaking to an audience in Australia in June, he explained that at our core, all people are equal. And then he shared this wonderful anecdote.

“When you’re on the plane, sometimes you get this gas problem,” he said. “So, you see, it’s hard to let go. So, every now and then, you see, you look around and then you go like that.”

His Holiness leaned to one side as if releasing a large ripper and then proceeded to laugh like a 12-year-old.

Because farts are fun. Even the Dalai Lama.


Shreddies were invented by a British industrial designer named Paul O’Leary, and the name comes from a colloquial term used for underwear that originated with the British forces. I was told that the soldiers would literally shred their underwear from marching so hard.

So, Shreddies.

But these Shreddies are nothing like the worn and torn underpants the name implies. Or the ones I bought at Target in 2003 that are still clinging to life.

Here, O’Leary worked with underwear designers from De Montfort University’s underwear design course (where the hell was that when I was in college?) and used something called Zorflex, an activated carbon cloth that it has traditionally been used in chemical warfare suits.

So basically, it’s like sticking a military-strength Brita up your ass.

Although you definitely don’t want to try this at home unless you’re craving an awkward conversation in the emergency room.

“… and so it happened.”

“Sir, I am not a doctor. This is the cafeteria.”

But there doesn’t seem to be anything bulky or dangerous about this Zoflex cloth, which is perfectly comfortable, sewn naturally to the back of the underwear. And as you release gas, the smelly particles—that’s a technical term—get trapped in the magical science filter, allowing you to confidently eat all sorts of horrible things and fart in the company of friends and strangers.

Which is exactly what I did.


The first day began like any other: sad and mired in self-doubt.

But after I got out of bed, I made some coffee, ate a banana and drank some dark chocolate almond milk before I left for the office. This would be my standard breakfast throughout the experiment, a more or less healthy start to the day.

Everything else was pure terror.

We’re talking pizza, tacos and sodas. And when all that didn’t work, I thought, “Well, a pile of roast beef should do.”

And he did. Little bit.

But how could he tell if the Shreddies really worked? This experiment needed a control.

So, I did what absolutely had to be done. I took one.

(Pause for a completely unrelated question: why don’t women like me?)

Now, for the sake of the more puritanical of our audience, I won’t go into too much more detail.

Just know that the experiment was working, and for the next two and a half days, I would continue this aggressive line of eating, consuming everything from shepherd’s pie to a soggy bowl of cheap fast food chili soup. All in the name of journalism.

And here’s the bottom line: this stuff works.

I put Shreddies through the ultimate endurance test and they delivered on their promise. And Jessica was there to support me.

“I can’t say I’ve ever asked someone to weigh themselves for me, and I’m not particularly proud that I did,” she said. “But someone had to check what Jarrett was up to. Fortunately, these underpants work.”

I apologize for nothing.

keep going @JarrettBellini on Twitter.

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