Underwear and air pollution control?

You wouldn’t think that underwear and air pollution have anything in common.

Think again.

A rumor among air pollution control circles says air pollution control arose in California starting in the mid 1950s due to — at least partly — ladies’ undergarments!

The story goes as follows:

In the 1950s, air pollution was so bad in the Los Angeles area that anything white left outside of packaging would stain quickly. In addition, rubberized products like elastic would quickly oxidize due to high levels of ground-level ozone. This caused a loss of elasticity and ultimate failure of the product.

This was a big problem for the garment industry. Elasticized underwear was popular and people grew annoyed when the garments didn’t last. Rumor continues that the garment industry, big in Los Angeles at the time, influenced the California lawmakers to pass the early air pollution control laws.

Underwear and air pollution control may indeed be directly related.

If this story is true, then one might say air pollution control was the result of elastic failure at bottom.

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