Farts can be socially embarrassing, even though everyone breaks wind. While they remain a comedy staple in film and theatre, few people know much about farts except that they smell bad! Here are five fascinating fart facts for your edification.
- They are 99% non-smelly
Farts are caused when your body pushes intestinal gas out through your rectum. They are completely natural. The noise is caused by vibration of the anal sphincter and sometimes your buttocks.
Intestinal gas is created when you digest food and consists of over 99% non-smelly content. It is made up of all sorts of gases, including nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane and oxygen. And yes, some people have enough methane and hydrogen in their farts to ignite them!
- They move faster than you walk
A fart leaves your body at a speed of around ten feet per second. That’s just under 7 mph (11 kmh). Your surroundings directly affect how far the fart travels, depending on wind speed, humidity and whether you’re indoors or outside. So fart downwind or you may be overtaken by the smell, even if you are walking!
- Everyone farts
Yes, everyone farts, though some people do it quieter than others. It can be unhealthy to hold them in, so the saying that it’s “better out than in” is medically sound. And you’ll fart even after you’re dead. For up to three hours after your body ceases to function and your soul has moved on to its final destination, you’ll still drop fart-bombs.
- Some people fart a lot more
The number and frequency of your farts depend on a variety of factors. Your diet directly affects the amount of intestinal gas you create and some people suffer from aerophagia (swallowing air) which can cause more trapped gas. Anxiety and stress are also known to increase the amount of air in your intestines.
- Animal farts could be taxed
Since methane is one of the most prominent factors in climate change, the enormous amount of gas produced by animal farts is a concern. Termites fart more than any other animal on the planet, which makes them the second largest natural source of emissions.
And New Zealand — a country in the unique position of having livestock methane emissions outweigh other greenhouse gas sources — has even considered imposing an “agricultural emissions research levy” on farmers in an attempt to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. Fart tax!
Now you know more than you ever wanted to about farts. Pull my finger.