The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (Abingdon, Md.) has asked the Kenyan government to reverse its decision to ban imports of secondhand clothing and shoes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards announced April 1 that the country would no longer accept imports of used clothing and shoes from any country experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 “until further notice.” The ban is a precautionary measure meant to slow the spread of the virus, Betty Maina, Kenya’s industry, trade and cooperatives cabinet secretary, said in an interview with The East African.
SMART points to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, which states that the novel coronavirus is detectable on porous surfaces such as cardboard for about a day and on hard, nonporous surfaces for up to three days. Used clothing shipped overseas is typically in transit for weeks or months, it says, “far longer than the virus has ever been shown to survive on even the most hospitable non-porous hard surfaces.” Further, SMART notes, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that laundering textiles in warm water is sufficient to mitigate any remaining risk. Hospitals and other medical facilities follow this practice with their reusable linens and hospital apparel, it says. Visit www.smartasn.org.