Brazilian government officials recently passed a law requiring clothing manufacturers to put warning labels in women's bras and panties and men's underwear. The law, which first went to Congress in 1999 and now awaits its final approval from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, aims to educate consumers on the importance of cancer-screening.
Warning labels in bras will encourage women to regularly conduct self-examinations to detect breast cancer, while underwear will advise men over the age of 40 to get screened for prostate cancer. Furthermore, women's panties will tell them to use condoms to prevent cervical cancer.
"I think our legislators got a bit confused," Ronald Masijah, head of Brazil's clothing industry association, told Financial Times the blog Beyondbrics.
"They must have looked at cigarette packs and decided knickers and underpants needed a health warning, too. But knickers and underpants don't cause cancer. The measure will have no impact [because] the first thing people do when they buy underwear is cut off the labels, and the government has a budget for health education that is much more effective. All this will do is create difficulties for manufacturers and increase prices for consumers," he added.
Brazil's lingerie industry is massive, taking in revenue of $3.36 billion and making 2.8 billion pieces last year. The law, if passed, would represent an enormous cost.