News and Stories from the Texas Medical Community


E-Bra, A Life Saving Two Cup Recipe for Radiation Exposure

In her Ig Nobel Prize acceptence speech, Dr.Elana Bodnar credited her husband for design input for the easy opening clasp on the RAD Emergecy Bra.

by Ed Lallo
Newsroom Ink

When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant ruptured in Ukraine in 1986, Dr. Elena Bodnar was brought in to treat victims of radiation poisoning and to study the consequences of radiation exposure.

The level 7 International Nuclear Event resulted in an explosion and fire at the plant releasing large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, which spread over much of Western USSR and Europe.

At the time of the disaster a thriving population of more than 50,000 lived in the nearby city of Prypiat on the Belarus board. The event began on an April Satuday during a systems test on reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant.

Dr. Bodnar discovered while treating patients affected by the accident that particle inhalation was as detrimental to the human body as the radiation exposure.

Convinced that gas masks could have saved lives, she decided to create a simple, inexpensive device that would always be close at hand –The RAD Emergency Bra.

Dr. Elena Bodnar holds an ‘Emergency Bra’, as John Durant (R), Director of the MIT Museum, and Gus Rancatore wear the bras as facemasks during event a MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA.  Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger

According to the Ukraine native, after a year of “safety engineering, economical design, and aesthetics,” the bra was finally ready to enhance cleavage and save lives.

The stylish bra is meant to be removed and then separated into two cups that can be used as two facemasks. When placed over the nose and mouth the mask can filter out chemicals as harsh as the ones found during the Chernobyl disaster. The bra also contains a radiation sensor.

The design of a brassier has always been the shape of a face mask. By adding a few features the common bra turns into an emergency respiratory device that achieves tight fixation and full coverage – minimizing contaminated bypass airflow.

“Isn’t that wonderful that human’s have two breasts not just one,” said Dr. Bodnar during her 2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize acceptance speech. “We can save not only our own life, but also a man of our choice next to us.”

Ig Nobel Prizes pokes fun at the Nobel Prizes and awards inventors and scientists who work on projects outside of the mainstream. They awards go to innovative inventions that make people laugh and think.

The event is organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard Computer Society.


The unique respiratory device has also been displayed at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Bodnar is currently the founder and President of the Trauma Risk Management Research Institute in Chicago. She is an internationally recognized scientist with over 20 years of experience in clinical research and development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. 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 the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

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