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ZCSA and Mongu Council Officers Seize Used Undergarments Worth K15,670

A joint team from the Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA) and Mongu Municipal Council has seized used undergarments valued at K15,670 from traders in Mongu. 

The crackdown on the sale of these items occurred during a market surveillance inspection at Kashumba Market and the Town Centre of Mongu District.

In a joint statement, Brian Hatyoka, Acting Manager of Communications and Public Relations at ZCSA, and Abigail Sitenge, Assistant Public Relations Manager at Mongu Municipal Council, confirmed the seizure of 1,420 pieces of undergarments, including bras and underwear, on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024.

The Mongu Magistrate Court has since issued a disposal order, and the seized items will be destroyed soon. During the operation, ZCSA and Mongu Municipal Council also conducted public education on the health risks associated with used undergarments and the legal implications of trading in such products.

Traders have been warned to cease the sale of used undergarments to avoid putting consumers’ health at risk. Offenders could face severe penalties, including the seizure and destruction of non-conforming goods and potential prosecution.

Consumers are encouraged to purchase new undergarments available in the market to safeguard their health. The Zambian Government has enforced this measure through Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 120 of 2006, making the Zambian standard for used textile products compulsory. 

This regulation, ZS 559: Inspection and Acceptance Criteria for Used Textile Products, prohibits the importation and sale of used textile items that include undergarments such as pyjamas, nightgowns, bras, camisoles, and vests.

This compulsory standard was established to protect consumers from health risks posed by second-hand undergarments. Such items, which are worn in close contact with the skin, can cause ailments including skin rashes, fungal infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. 

The risk is exacerbated by poor personal hygiene practices associated with these products, such as inadequate washing or sharing, which can transmit pathogens from the original users to second-hand users.

In some cases, wearing improperly cleaned used undergarments may result in allergic reactions or skin irritation, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin or pre-existing conditions. The resultant irritation and itching can lead to discomfort and, potentially, secondary infections from skin scratching.

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