In case of emergency, remove bra. No, really. The new Emergency Bra (or EBbra) is designed to enhance cleavage and save lives.
At first glance, this may seem like an amusing garment, but it was born out of a real life necessity as observed by its inventor Dr. Elena Bodnar. In 1986 when Bodnar was a young doctor in the Ukraine (then the Soviet Union) she treated patients affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster, where breathing in airborne particles was as bad as the radiation exposure. Again, after watching the September 11 footage of people using shirts to filter debris, Bodnar felt compelled to put her skills into creating a device that could be used in emergencies.
The attractive bright red bra is a regular bra that, in case of an emergency, can quickly be removed (while keeping clothes on) in order to separate the cups into two face masks; one for the wearer and one for another person. The EBbra helps stop the wearer from inhaling harmful particles in emergency situations where there are no protective respiration devices. Worn as a face mask, the bra has the ability to filter particles released by fire, explosions, radiation and other natural disasters.
Bodnar wanted to invent an emergency face mask that would be available and on hand at all times, and a bra seemed an ideal solution. The cups are already in place and a perfect shape to fit over the face.
The cup consists of five filtration layers, a cotton liner and a N95 grade surgical mask, along with a bra cup attached to two nylon liners. The memory inserts allow for a tight fitting above the bridge of the nose and the straps are designed to be easily detached and reattached when required.
Bodnar, who now calls Chicago home, was the recipient of the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for Public Health for her invention. The Ig Nobel awards are for those inventions which “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” Bodnar is the founder and president of the Trauma Risk Management Research Institute in Chicago.
“Isn't it wonderful that women have two breasts, not just one? We can save not only our own life, but also the life of a man of our choice next to us,” Bodnar said on receiving her award.
The EBbra recently went on the market for $29.99 and is available in red in sizes 32B to 40C. Don't worry, Bodnar is currently working on a counterpart for men – a dress shirt. Of course, unlike the bra, they won't be sharing!