Concerned about the people’s health and the need to protect the environment, the Tanzanian government has, with immediate effect, banned the importation and sale of second-hand undergarments in the country.
Invoking the regulation on quality of used textile products, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has given importers and traders of second-hand clothing one month to clear from the market undergarments such as socks, underpants, brassieres, camisoles, vests and night dresses.
“All persons dealing in used garments are hereby reminded that importation and sale of used undergarments in the country is not allowed for public health and safety reasons,” said a statement from TBS, the government arm for quality control.
TBS has warned that violators would be charged under Section 27 of the Standards Act No 2 of 2009 and that their goods would be disposed of at owner’s cost.
Health experts here have warned that continued wear of used undergarments can cause various skin diseases with a high cost to the nation in providing treatment to sufferers.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, 452,356 tonnes of second-hand clothes worth 455 million shillings (US$284,000) were imported between 2005 and 2011, and, at least 2,992 trading licences were issued by local authorities to second-hand dress dealers between 2009 and 2011.
Tanzania has about 48 main importers of used garments who distribute the material to retailers in an industry that employs a big number of people around the country.