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Fighting Fire with Sperm

  • Jason McClellan

Sperm as a flame retardant

Scientists are working to create new types of flame-retardant materials, and they’re using sperm to do it.

Studies in recent years have shown that DNA has a chemical structure that makes it highly flame resistant. When heated, the chemical composition of DNA changes, resulting in an intumescent effect—it produces a foaming gel that chars, creating a protective barrier.

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy recently conducted a study in which they coated cotton fabrics with DNA to test its effectiveness as a flame retardant. And the DNA they used was extracted from fish sperm, because sperm is basically a highly concentrated shot of DNA. It seems like these researchers could have saved time by conducting the test with Monica Lewinski’s dress or a comforter from a hotel room. But no. They opted to coat their own fabrics using their own fish sperm.

Dr. Jenny Alongi, one of the researchers from the Polytechnic University of Turin who participated in the recent study, explains that the tests demonstrated that “the fire protection built by DNA decomposition can withstand fire exposure for longer time than traditional intumescent fire retardants.”

Researchers are excited about using DNA as a fire retardant because it’s a natural, environmentally friendly way to protect fabrics from fire. And sperm is pretty easy to come by. But fire retardant companies aren’t blowing their loads just yet. There are a couple issues preventing DNA from being widely used as a fire retardant.

Surprisingly, DNA is an expensive fire-retardant option—reportedly between three and five times more expensive than current chemical options.

Solution: Hire a team of full-time masturbating teens. Or have the lonely science nerds in the lab contribute samples. Problem solved.

But a bigger problem is that the DNA solution comes right off if you wash the material on which it is coated. So, for now, this isn’t really a viable option for things like clothes, unless you’re disgusting and you don’t ever wash your clothes. But this shouldn’t be an issue for many cum-stained items in hotel rooms like chairs, couches, and comforters.

Although DNA shows promise as a flame retardant, its development still has a ways to go . . . or cum. 

Would you every wear clothing or product with sperm in it?