By Miriam Humbe
Importers of school uniform materials into Nigeria have been warned about some cancer-causing substances found in some school uniform materials made by two China based companies, Sing Shun Fat School-Clothier Company and Zenith Uniform Company.
A statement from the office of the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma, disclosed that the azo dyes which were found in some school uniforms in Hong Kong contained up to 173 milligrams and 41 milligrams per kilogram of the tested samples respectively, which were well above the maximum allowed by the standard. Use of the 4-amino azo dye have been banned in Europe, Japan and other parts of the World prior to the finding.
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 SON DG, 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.
He 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 Standards Organisation of Nigeria off-shore conformity assessment programme (SONCAP), in order to avoid bringing them to the country.
Aboloma said that all international accredited firms (IAFs) undertaking the off-shore conformity assessment programme on behalf of the SON all over the world have been put on alert regarding the cancer-causing substance in school uniform materials and other clothing materials to be imported into Nigeria.