Starting February 2011, 2nd hand knickers are banned from being sold.. in Ghana. And some people are not happy about it.
Cynthia, another market trader, defended the business.It appears they are doing this because "the Ghana Standards Board, used pants - and other second-hand goods like handkerchiefs and mattresses - are unhygienic and could pose a health hazard".
"Second-hand underwear and other clothes we sell here at Kantamanto Market are better quality than new undies in the stores," she said.
She admitted that some of the imported underwear was stained but said customers rummage through the piles and inspect goods before buying.
"No matter how poor the person is, they will not chose stained ones and we throw them away," she said.
One trader insisted that all the goods she sold had been disinfected.
|flickr/cc - xavi talleda|
I am not someone to buy a used mattress or underwear, but I can understand the financial impact to those who don't have the means to purchase new. And if we wash our clothes thoroughly with hot water and bleach (like we do with cloth diapers) then our undergarments should be clean enough for anyone to wear or are we doubting our cleaning supplies abilities?
Initially when I read this I thought a ban would be a good idea here in the states as well, but have come to the conclusion that personal decision making is the best way to go, if enough people don't want the 2nd hand item, it won't be available and the old saying is always true: Buyer Beware
Back to the Ghana ban on 2nd hand undergarments, "If the government really wants to meet the demands of poor people, it should offer support to micro-finance and small industries who are able to produce undergarments at subsidized rates," said Angela Wauye, a programme coordinator with ActionAid Kenya, who deals with trade issues.
But I liked the comment mentioned in a forum: I never wear used underwear until I sterilize it in a pit of fire first. The fire gets rid of any bed bugs or other insects that might be living in the underwear. Unfortunately, the skivvies seldom survive the fire, either.
What are your thoughts on buying 2nd hand undergarments?
A couple government resources for bed bugs:
2nd Hand Matresses:
Bedbug prevention and cleaning
resources from the CDC