Police in Vietnam have confiscated an estimated 345,000 used condoms which had been cleaned, repacked and resold as new, state media reported.
Dozens of large bags containing the used contraceptives scattered across the floor of a warehouse in the southern province of Binh Duong were shown in footage by state-owned Vietnam Television (VTV) this week.
Police said the bags weighed over 360kg (794 lbs), equivalent to around 345,000 condoms, according to VTV.
The owner of the warehouse said they had received a “monthly input of used condoms from an unknown person”.
A woman detained during the operation told police the used condoms were first boiled in water then dried and reshaped on a wooden phallus before being repackaged and resold.
VTV said it was not clear how many of the recycled condoms had already been sold. The detained woman said she had received $0.17 (£0.13) for every kilogram of recycled condoms she produced.
Neither she nor the owner of the warehouse were available for comment.
Unlike socks which can be washed and reused, condoms are meant for one use and to be disposed of thereafter. Healthline warned that external condoms are 98 per cent effective at lowering the risk of unwanted pregnancy and STI transmission with perfect use. And this means disposing of them after one use, even if the wearer never ejaculated, entered another human, or sex is taking place between the same two people.
According to Dr Nina Carroll of Your Doctors Online, “there’s no way to tell whether you’ve actually rid the condom of viruses and infection that you might be worried because they’re so microscopic that you wouldn’t be able to see them.”
Carroll warned that when you reuse a condom, “you ramp up the chances that that condom is going to slip and slide off.”
She added: “There’s also a much higher risk that the condom itself rips, breaks, bursts, or gets a hole in it — either with or without you and your partner(s) noticing.”