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FTC urges changes to care labeling rule for clothing
Sep '12
As part of the Federal Trade Commission's systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the FTC Rule that requires manufacturers and importers to attach labels with care instructions for garments and certain piece goods, so consumers have reliable instructions for drycleaning or washing, bleaching, drying and ironing their clothing.

The Care Labeling Rule, officially called the Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, has been in effect since 1971. The FTC sought public comment on the overall costs, benefits, and necessity of the Care Labeling Rule in 2011.

Based on a review of comments, the agency has concluded that the Rule continues to benefit consumers and will be retained, and is now seeking comments on potential updates to the Rule, including changes that would:

  • Allow manufacturers and importers, if they so choose, to include professional instructions for wetcleaning – an environmentally friendly alternative to drycleaning – on labels if the garment can be professionally wetcleaned;
  • Permit manufacturers to use updated ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) or ISO (International Organization for Standardization) symbols on labels in lieu of written terms providing care instructions;
  • Clarify what constitutes a reasonable basis for care instructions; and
  • Update and expand the definition of "dryclean" to reflect current practices and account for the advent of new solvents.

The Commission vote approving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 5-0. It is available on the FTC's website. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice. Comments must be received by November 16, 2012.

All comments received will be posted online. (FTC File No. R511915; the staff contact is Robert M. Frisby, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2098)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

The Federal Trade Commission

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