Is it Possible to Outrun a Fart?

Kate Horowitz

We like to pretend otherwise, but farting is a fact of life—a necessity even. Eating and digesting food introduces gas into your digestive tract, and farting releases it. If you couldn’t fart, those gases would build up, steadily increasing the pressure inside your body. You’ve seen what happens to an over-filled balloon, right?

So farts (which used to be called “ferts," a term we should definitely reintroduce) are important. That doesn’t mean we have to enjoy our own, or anybody else’s, for that matter. The average adult toots 13 to 21 times per day, expelling about 0.5 liters of gas. Of that gas, only 1 percent actually smells, but that 1 percent is often more than enough. If you’ve ever accidentally walked into the fragrant miasma of another person’s flatus or tried to subtly stroll away from one of your own, you may have wondered if it’s possible to outrun the stench.

As the smarties at ASAP Science explain in the video above, that’s a surprisingly complicated question. Each fart, and each person’s nose, is unique. You’d have to take into account wind speed and direction, airflow, obstacles, a specific fart’s chemistry, a specific sniffer’s odor receptors, temperature, and more. So yeah, maybe you can outrun a fart. Maybe you can’t.

Header image from YouTube // ASAP Science