Product Review

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By Rachel Thompson

Biology is not destiny.

A small paper product could change the face of urinating for women. Or, at least the direction women face while urinating.

LaFemme is a flushable, hand-held paper funnel that helps women pee into the toilet (or wherever) by standing and facing the bowl. Capable of handling the flow of a fully opened faucet, LaFemme directs a stream into the toilet with the help of a drip hole "brake" to prevent dribbles, and a backstop to prevent backfire.

The product takes a couple of tries to get the hang of - and that backstop might not hold the first time - but after practice it's easy to stick your thumb onto the correct position on the hold tab. The paper doesn't absorb liquid during use, but once dropped in the bowl, the chute absorbs the water and is easily flushed. drawing of LaFemme

If adding more disposable products to your repertoire disturbs you, LaFemme also comes in tree- free or 100% recycled varieties. The paper is printed with flowers or other patterns and the kids version, Whiz Kids, has brightly coloured patterns.

Ready to try it? Well you can't just yet. LaFemme isn't being manufactured. The inventor has limited sample supplies and is trying to find a company to manufacture and distribute the female urinary chutes.

Bill Cicio invented the urinary chutes after his wife faced the "restroom from hell". Cicio highlights what he calls the "Stalls of Shame" on his Web-site (see address below) with photos of some of the most unsanitary washroom stalls in the world.

But LaFemme is not just for sanitary purposes. The chute had a trial run in the 1996 New York City Marathon to help runners speed up the process when faced with the 500 portable toilets for 29,000 participants.

Other consumers targeted by Cicio's product include the elderly, particularly those suffering from arthritis and that have difficulty with sitting and standing. LaFemme is also designed with expectant mothers, campers, travelers, athletes, and military personnel in mind.

For more information, or to get on a mailing list to be notified when the product is ready for consumers, contact:


PO Box 34, Massapequa Park, New York 11762 USA

Tel. (516) 797-4097