Wearing an undergarment worn before can lead to the spread of bacteria, lice and yeast, said Councilman Tony Avella, D-Queens, the bill's sponsor.
The Staten Island Advance reported Avella's bill would prohibit stores from reselling any clothing "worn under the outer clothes and next to the skin in the area directly below an individual's waist," therefore, bras, undershirts and socks could still be returned to retailers.
The measure followed reports by WCBS-TV, New York, that showed returned underwear was offered for resale at some of New York's top department stores and chains.
Pauline Toole, of the city's Department of Consumer Affairs, supported the measure but said consumers could always protect themselves by washing newly purchased undergarments before wearing them.
"The notion that one's Fruit of the Loom has been squeezed, bruised and then repackaged is quite unnerving," said James Oddo, R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn.