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Frequently Asked Question


For some, Brief Relief™ is an unusual product line and the topic of dealing with personal sanitation is bound to raise some valid questions. For that reason we have put together a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about the Brief Relief products.

Below are the most frequently asked questions and answers. If you have other questions not listed below, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@briefrelief.ca or you can email your questions to us by filling out our info request form

Frequently Asked Questions   Questions Fréquentes  

1. Are the chemicals safe? What if the powders get on my skin?

If you refer to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on the Brief Relief and Disposa-John you will read that “…this substance and its ingredients are not considered hazardous as defined by OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Agency), or the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The worst that will happen is your skin will feel dry.

2. Do the polymers and enzymes kill germs?

No, instead they change the composition of the waste so that it becomes safe for disposal as regular trash. The purpose of the polymer component of the formulation is to immediately contain and encapsulate the waste. The enzyme component in the powder formulation is to ensure and accelerate the complete biological breakdown of the urine and stool to its most basic parts, thus allowing for safe disposal.

3. What if somebody else touches my used bag? (What if it punctures?)

Unless the bag has been soiled on the outside due to “aim” problems there is no risk in handling the bag. When properly used and sealed it can’t leak. Inside, the gel is self-sealing and the enzymes break down the waste into simple salts and water, neutralizing them.

If the bag is punctured (as when your kitchen garbage bag breaks), common sense says that you should avoid direct contact with the waste. However, it can be swept up and put into another container.

4. Where is it okay to throw Brief Relief away? (Is it really okay to throw them away in a trash container?)

Brief Relief bags can be disposed of with normal trash, not in recycle bins. The bags are landfill-friendly and have been approved by your Provincial environmental agency, State & Federal E.P.A. for landfill disposal — just like a baby diaper.

5. (Particularly for Disposa-John) what do I do with it once I’ve used it?

The answer to this may be company-specific, and trainer needs to identify appropriate company requirements and practices, however, the Disposa-John is also designed for safe disposal in any trash receptacle.

6. Will the polymer/enzyme crystals work in extreme heat or cold?

The powder blend works best in the range of 40 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Since bodily waste is normally 98.6 degrees, encapsulation occurs immediately in spite of outside temperature, as does biological degradation. The biological degradation does begin to slow down when outside temperatures reach either very hot or very cold extremes. Note, however, that the growth of pathogens and other microorganisms also slows at extreme temperatures, so the slower degradation rate is not a problem.

7. What is the shelf life of an unused Brief Relief or Disposa-John bag?

Virtually unlimited. The U.S. Marine Corps rated the shelf life of the product at 10 years plus! It is 95% active after 5 years of storage.

8. How strong is the bucket?

The U.S. Marine Corps during their product approval process has tested the bucket at 300 pounds for 12 hours

9. Is The Commode bucket and seat safe to use in extreme heat and cold?

The Commode bucket is manufactured from heavy-duty polyethylene and with a thick wall to resist becoming brittle in extreme cold or soft in extreme heat. Buckets of this design are used to store and transport hazardous chemicals safely, which you can be sure would not be allowed if the buckets could crack or melt!

The Commode seat is manufactured from industrial grade polyurethane to resist damage or degradation due to extreme temperatures

10. How durable is the Privacy Tent?

Although it weighs only 7 lbs. or 3 kg, it is water repellant, non-conductive, and fire retardant, meeting CPAI-84 standards. To show how durable the tent is, even in extreme conditions, six of them were used by the Everest 98 Environmental Expedition, where, for four weeks at 18,500 feet they withstood below freezing temperatures, driving wind and snow, yak stampedes and intense radiation from the sun – with never a problem. In actual field conditions in both very hot and very cold weather, despite frequent use, to date there has been not one complaint of damage in normal handling. The tent measures an impressive 4ft. x 4ft. x 7ft.

11. Can people see me through the tent?

No. The gray opaque fabric was particularly selected to prevent this even in full sunlight conditions.

12. Does Brief Relief work for females? (How do females use Brief Relief?)

Actually, Brief Relief’s co-designer was a woman, and it was designed specifically because more and more women were entering utility/telecom OSP jobs. You simply need to find privacy (like the Brief Relief Privacy Tent), fold the tab to its widest form and hold it very close against your body.

13. Who else is using the Brief Relief products, and for how long?

The products are currently being used by 80 of the top 100 public utility companies in the US. Large telecoms such as GTE, BellSouth, Pacific Bell, and US West have been using Brief Relief products for at least five years. The British Military has been utilizing the products at their training bases in Canada located in Alberta. Additionally in Canada, customers include; TELUS, Bell Canada, City of Calgary, ENMAX, EPCOR, Hydro Quebec, City of Ottawa, BC Hydro, University of BC, Northwest Territories Power Corp, RCMP, Canadian Military, Ottawa Hydro and the City of Vancouver.

14. How is the product packaged?

Brief Relief – case of 100 (10 bags of 10 each)
Disposa-John – case of 100 (20 bags of 5 each)
Daily Restroom Kit – case of 100 (20 bags of 5 each)

15. Can we use the product more than once?

The product is designed as a one time disposable unit.

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