Bras, Bras, Bras! Episode 1 – Bizarre Bra and Breast facts

I was planning to start off the formal series with the history of the bra (which dates back more than 4000 years!). But in my research, I came across such a wide array of bizarre information that didn’t really fit anywhere in the series that I decided to start with a list of fun facts.

  • Approximately $16 billion dollars are spent annually on bra purchases worldwide. That’s $16,000,000,000.
  • The average woman in America owns 9 bras.
  • On October 27, 1999, two women were reportedly killed when lightning struck the underwire in their bras. This wasn’t the first report of bras attracting lightning. In 1982, the Rome News-Tribune reported a similar incident, and there are references to 1991 underwire strike as well.
  • According to National Geographic, women’s breasts average from 10 ounces to 20 lbs.
  • Annie Hawkins-Stone holds the Guinness Record for having the largest natural (no implants) breasts at size 102ZZZ and weighing in at approximately 56 lbs.
  • The worlds longest bra chain comes in at 166,000 bras. This may seem like a trivial record, but several organizations around the world, including GirlGuiding NZ are using their attempt to break the longest bra chain record as a way to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. You can donate unwanted bras to them and at the end of the record they will send all of the good condition bras to women in need in Africa, Haiti and the Pacific Islands.
  • Despite rumors that wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer, scientists, including the director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, say that’s simply not true.
  • Researchers are designing and have patented a bra that can detect breast cancer in the very early stages of development.
  • Japan’s Triumph International lingerie company has some outrageous bra ideas and has come up with anti-smoking bras, heated bras to prevent colds, and bras that turn into shopping bags.
Photo Source: Japan Today
Check back next week to learn the long history of the bra.
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Quick Fact: Latex allergies

Natural rubber latex is derived from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis.  The protein in latex is the sensitizer that causes allergies.  Many individuals are not initially allergic to latex, but develop sensitivity to it after prolonged exposure.

Latex allergies are particularly tricky because latex can sometimes be found in elastic, but not always.  Manufacturers are not required to specify if a product contains a small amount of elastic as trim.  Even when they do note that elastic is present, the underlying source of the elastic is almost never listed.  So it is rare to find a garment hang tag that will say with any certainty whether latex is present.

Many of our products are not labeled “Latex Free” only because we weren’t able to track down the source of the elastic.  So they could be, but we just don’t know.  A few of our vendors have been able to trace back to the exact make-up of their elastics.  Here’s a compiled product list of manufacturer-confirmed Latex Free garments.  For more information on latex allergies, visit the American Latex Allergy Association.

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QUICK FACT: Is hemp illegal to grow in the USA?

Hemp is not technically illegal to grow in the USA. It can be grown with a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Rumor has it however, that farmers are never actually given permits. So for all intents and purposes, it is illegal. Industrial hemp is in the same family as marijuana and was banned for its similar look. You can’t get high on hemp though, as the mind-altering drug THC found in marijuana is nearly absent in industrial hemp.
On August 5 of this year, Oregon passed a bill to make hemp farming legal in that state. They are the 17th state to pass some sort of pro-hemp legislation in the past 3 years. The states are also lobbying to have the DEA permit issue removed and allow state-control of hemp production. At the moment, all of our hemp fabric for clothing is imported and US farmers would like to change that.
A really interesting tidbit is that in 1619 at Jamestown Colony in Virginia it was mandatory for farmers to grow hemp because there was such a shortage. …You must grow it, you can’t grow, oh the confusion over one little plant…
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QUICK FACT: Where does organic cotton come from?

For years Turkey has held the record for growing the largest amount of certified organic cotton.  But according to the Organic Trade Association, last year India increased its production of organically grown cotton by 292% to become the number one grower.  India alone now produces nearly half the world’s supply of organic cotton.

The USA produces a mere 2.1% of the world’s supply of organic cotton and does not produce enough to meet the country’s demand.  So a lot of organic cotton is imported by necessity.  We hope the increasing demand for chemical-free, organically grown cotton will encourage more US farmers to go organic.

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