Like Clark Kent transforming into Superman when danger strikes, this conventional bra claims to be a presto chango life saver in a number of emergency situations. Aptly called the Emergency Bra, the cups that normally support our breasts separate to become two face masks that are said to “decrease the inhalation of harmful airborne particles.” Seriously? Supposedly.

So let’s say you find yourself in a sudden dust storm or worse, a fire, but you don’t have a specialized respiratory device with you. If you are sporting your Emergency Bra, you already have your golden ticket to safety. Just whip it off (no need to remove any other clothes… we’ve all seen Jennifer Beals demo this move in Flashdance), separate the cups, place one over your face and securely fix it around your head. You are not only protecting your lungs/breathing, but you are now hands-free as you make your way out of whatever life threatening scenario you’re facing.

ebra close upGood in theory, we guess, but questions do come to mind…

1. With the amount of gapping and sagging that most bras do on the part of the body they are actually designed to fit, how is a secure fit over your mouth and nose even possible? Won’t the chin get in the way?

2. How is the bra itself going to be comfortable to wear, if it’s made from some special material that has the ability to filter out the bad stuff when you wear it as a mask? Try wearing two coffee filters in your bra and see how that feels.

3. And what about the A-cups of the world? The Emergency Bra starts at size 32B, so are our petite friends just left to die? Or are they forced to wear a bra that’s way too big for them? This screams of boobism!

Laugh as we may, the woman who came up with this “life saving” intimate is no joke. According to the Emergency Bra site, “Dr. Elena Bodnar, currently the founder and President of the Trauma Risk Management Research Institute in Chicago, is an internationally recognized scientist with over 20 years of experience in clinical research and development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.”

emergency bra makerDr. Bodnar started her career as a physician in Ukraine during the Chornobyl nuclear accident. She treated and assisted in the relocation of children affected by the accident, and studied the consequences of radiation exposure. In the United States, she managed the Electrical Trauma Research Program at the University of Chicago, and collaborated with the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency on projects related to Chernobyl.

In 2009, her Emergency Bra earned Dr. Bodnar the Ig Nobel Prize in Public Health. What’s an Ig Nobel, you ask? Well, it’s a bit of a parody of THE Nobel Prize in that they “celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative” with the goal of first making people laugh, and then making them think that even the most absurd-sounding avenues of research can yield useful knowledge. An award is an award, right?