School Uniforms from China Cause Cancer, SON Alleges

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Osita Aboloma

Jonathan Eze

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has cautioned importers of school uniforms into the country against some cancer-causing substances found in some materials made by two Chinese-based companies – Sing Shun Fat School-Clothier Company and Zenith Uniform Company.

A statement from the office of the Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma, disclosed that the azo dyes, which were found in some school uniforms in Hong Kong contained up to 173 milligrammess and 41 milligrammes per kilogramme of the tested samples respectively, which were well above the maximum allowed in the standard.

According to him, use of the 4-amino azo dye has been banned in Europe, Japan and other parts of the world prior to the finding.

He alluded to a circular on the subject from the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) stressing that SON will continue to work with other sister agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service and the nation’s Security apparatus to protect Nigerians from the negative effect of substandard products. According to the statement, azo dyes could release carcinogenic substances known as aromatic amines when they mix with sweat, which accounted for the ban on the use of the dye in many countries of the world.

The SON chief executive advised importers of school uniform materials in Nigeria to endeavour to undergo the process of conformity assessment of such materials prior to import, through the SON’s offshore conformity assessment programme (SON-CAP) in order to avoid bringing them to the country.

He further advised Nigerians to report any suspected uniform materials that may already be in the country to SON for necessary, sampling, laboratory tests and analysis to be carried out at its Textile and Leather Laboratory in Kaduna for necessary regulatory action.

According to the statement signed by SON’s Head, Public Relations, Bola Fasina, all international accredited firms (IAFs) undertaking the offshore conformity assess-ment programme on behalf of the SON all over the world have been put on alert regarding the cancer-causing substance in school uniform and other clothing materials to be imported into