Fashion and functionality are often opposing forces, but this dynamic is especially true regarding the latest fashion statement to come out of Japan: radiation-proof underwear.
The bulky drawers, made by Osaka-based materials company Yamamoto, are designed to protect your private parts from harmful gamma rays, reports CNET. Keeping your bits safe definitely comes at a fashion cost; the underwear is heavy and probably not very comfortable.
To be fair, if you had a nuclear power plant profusely leaking radiation in your neighborhood, you'd probably consider donning the diaper-sized undergarments too. Not surprisingly, the product is aimed at workers who are fighting to seal up the Fukushima nuclear plant, which continues to discharge radioactive material at an alarming rate.
The underwear works thanks to its lead-based fabric, which is the same protective element that exists in heavy hospital aprons that are often worn by patients receiving X-rays. The lead makes the underwear cumbersome too; each pair of the undies weighs 7.5 pounds. You might make up for the extra weight with a lighter wallet, however. Yamamoto intends to charge $825 when they go to market.
The company will also be releasing radiation-proof swimwear, for those concerned about the risk of swimming in Japanese waters. The full-body wetsuit is made of rubber embedded with carbon, which should offer nearly 100 percent protection from beta rays. You'll want to make sure to be a good swimmer, however, as the wetsuit could weigh you down a tad: it will weigh 6.6 pounds. A hefty price tag of $1,073 will also be attached.
Of course, the radiation-proof underwear and wetsuit probably aren't necessary for anyone who isn't working at or near the Fukushima site, but if you don't mind the fashion faux pas and are concerned about your radiation risk, the products should be available for anyone to purchase.
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