By Erin Emery
Denver Post Southern Colorado Bureau
Friday, June 15, 2001
You know the moment everyone pretends to ignore? When someone unpacks their grip, lets one rip, cuts the cheese?
Your nose hair curls. Your eyes tear up.
It’s a subject most people don’t talk about, unless, of course, you’re a young boy who delights in every melodic note.
Buck Weimer, 62, of Pueblo is different than most adults. He actually likes talking about, um, farts. He’ll even tell you what happened after a huge Thanksgiving dinner more than six years ago.
He and his wife, Arlene, 57, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome, were lying under the covers when she let go a bomb.
“I’m laying in bed with her, sort of suffering silently,” he said.
Out of the silence came determination. Something had to be done.
More than six years later, Buck Weimer has a new invention: Under-Ease, airtight underwear with a replaceable charcoal filter that removes bad-smelling gases before they escape. Weimer received a patent in 1998.
The undies are made from a soft, airtight, nylon-type fabric. Elastic is sewn around the waist and both legs. The removable filter – which looks similar to the shoulder pads placed in women’s clothing – is made of charcoal sandwiched between two layers of Australian Sheep’s wool.
“It sounds like a brilliant idea,” said Dr. Robert Nieder, past president of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in Denver. “If there’s a fairly good seal … charcoal filters remove odors.”
The trickiest part of developing the undies was finding a filter that wasn’t too bulky but could capture the bad-smelling gas and allow the non-smelling gas – hydrogen and oxygen – to pass through. Weimer tweaked a filter used in gas masks worn by coal miners and inserted it into the rump of his undies.
Earlier this year, in the first run, 750 pairs of underwear were created, and Colorado Contract Cut & Sew of Denver is now assembling another run. They come in boxers for men, and panties for women and sell for $24.95; two replacement filters cost $9.95.
The company’s motto: “Wear them for the ones you love.”
The Weimers are accustomed to the jokes and locker room humor. Behind the levity, though, flatulence can be a serious problem for some people.
Arlene Weimer, a psychologist in Pueblo, has suffered from Crohn’s disease for 25 years. Her most embarrassing moment came when a client came to her office and said it smelled like a sewer. He asked about plumbing problems.
Even though a healthy person farts an average of 16 times a day, according to UselessKnowledge.com, flatulence is a very private matter. The Weimers set up a booth at a health fair in Pueblo. People took brochures, but no one purchased Under-Ease. Almost every sale has come from via the Internet.
Since the Weimers started selling Under-Ease, they’ve heard heart-warming stories from customers. One elderly woman said she hadn’t been to church for two years because she was embarrassed by her flatulence. A grandfather of a 10-year-old boy with digestive problems said his grandson nearly lost his best friend because he couldn’t stand the smell.
“We’re really doing this a lot out of trying to help people,” Arlene Weimer said.