As if Russia hasn’t had enough bad press lately, now it’s going after women’s panties. The Eurasian Economic Commission, which consists of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, regulates customs and standards for goods and services among the 3 countries. In its wisdom it has created a trade ban on panties containing less than 6% cotton, set to go into effect this July. So, what does the EEC have against lacy panties? According to the Commission, which clearly isn’t much of an expert on underwear materials and construction, panties made of lace and other synthetic fabrics don’t absorb enough moisture, especially compared to cotton. About 80% of the underwear sold in the three countries is foreign-made and the trade ban may result in the disappearance of almost 90% of the panties available on the shelves. Consumers are not happy. Lacy lingerie is in huge demand in these countries and women are not relishing the idea of returning to Soviet-era utilitarian cotton undies. In fact, about 30 protesters in Kazakhstan, wearing panties on their heads and shouting “Freedom to panties!” were arrested and put into police vans a few weeks ago. Well, the Commission didn’t do its homework. Wicking fabrics that move moisture away from the body and out to the surface are at least as effective, if not more so, than cotton. Moisture then evaporates quickly, unlike with cotton which tends to hold on to moisture. Also, consider the construction of lace–it’s an openwork fabric, not a solid piece of cloth. By its very nature, it’s airy and breathable. While the EEC may have some sound economic goals in mind, the panties ban has not only outraged consumers and manufacturers, but doesn’t make any health sense either. And it’s never a good idea to come between women and our lingerie.
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