NEW ROCHELLE, NY—Preservationists throughout the nation are expressing alarm at what they call an "unprecedented" rate of ass expansion within the confines of a New Rochelle-area pantsuit.

The ass.

According to a study released Monday by the activist group PantsWatch, the pantsuit, a Jaclyn Smith-brand outfit purchased in 1992, could suffer irreparable damage within the next six months if the ass expansion were to continue unchecked.

"The current ass expansion rate is nearly double that of last year. Containment of the emergent assosphere is becoming less and less viable," PantsWatch's Brent Klarman said. "This ass must not be allowed to destroy vital stitching. We can not idly stand by and allow this ass to continue its relentless growth beyond the already-allocated fabric zone."

Among the study's alarming claims are a 40 percent increase in seam stress, a 23 percent rise in chafing and bunching, and a devastating 48 percent drop in pocket space resulting from excessive ass increase.

"At the current rate of ass expansion, fabric integrity will likely be breached by September 1997," the report concluded. "This is ass mass acceleration of astronomic, catastrophic proportions."

"Proper ass containment requires a careful balance between ass-space allocation and pants availability," said Greg Hemming, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Trouser and Legwear Conservation. "Once that balance is shifted, an ass can cause irreparable damage to its environment, taxing a pantsuit's stitching, elastic band and fit beyond its capacity to adapt. In some cases, when a pantsuit's resources are strained past the limits of feasibility, it can no longer accommodate the increased pressures of the changing ass. In a worst-case scenario, riding, binding and severe seam rippage can be the result."

Hemming also warned that once an ass breaks free of the confines of its enclosure, there is often no stopping it.

According to conservationists, making matters worse is the rare nature of the pantsuit.

"This is a four-year-old pantsuit, so it is unlikely that it would be replaceable should it burst," said Pat Wallingford of the activist group Asspeace. "If these pants become no longer viable as a clothing option, the owner will most likely have to supplement her wardrobe with a more contemporary design. And this rare pantsuit will be lost forever, gone the way of the passenger pigeon."

Making matters worse, Wallingford said, is the fact that many laws mandating ass containment measures are in danger of being repealed due to pressure from powerful pro-ass lobby groups, including AssNow! and Asslamic fundamentalists.

"These groups aren't concerned about preserving the nation's pantsuits for our children," Wallingford said. "All they care about is profits and ass expansion at any cost."

The pantsuit, which was recently placed on "protected" status, faces its most serious crisis since Thanksgiving weekend 1994, when rescue workers were rushed in for an emergency button-opening procedure.