Vol. 1174 | 28 Jul 2020

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking comment on a proposal to repeal the rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods as Amended (“Care Labeling Rule”). The deadline for public comments is September 21, 2020.

The Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers of textile wearing apparel and certain piece goods to attach labels to their products disclosing the care needed for the ordinary use of the product. The Care Labeling Rule also requires manufacturers or importers to possess a reasonable basis for care instructions and allows the use of approved care symbols in lieu of words to disclose those instructions.

The FTC has a long history of seeking comment and considering concerns about the Care Labeling Rule as well as the amendments proposed by the FTC. Upon consideration of the substantial record in this rulemaking, the FTC now seeks comment on a proposal to repeal the Care Labeling Rule altogether.

The FTC is proposing to repeal the Care Labeling Rule based on the following points:

  1. The existing legal mandate may not be necessary because manufacturers, in the absence of the Care Labeling Rule, are likely motivated to provide accurate care information to consumers as the U.S. market demand for clear care labels. Notably, manufacturers in markets that have voluntary care instruction systems, like Canada and most European Union nations, voluntarily provide cleaning instruction on a routine basis.
  2. The Care Labeling Rule may have failed to keep pace with advances in cleaning technology and care symbol revisions. Although the option of wetcleaning has been available in the marketplace for many years, the Care Labeling Rule still does not allow manufactures to present that option on labels. Moreover, the Care Labeling Rule currently incorporates symbol system ASTM D5489-96c, which has been superseded.
  3. The Care Labeling Rule may have a negative impact on innovation, particularly in the development and adoption of new cleaning technologies. Its failure to address wetcleaning has placed professional wetcleaners at a competitive disadvantage and discouraged greater use of that technology.
  4. The repeal would provide manufacturers with additional flexibility in labeling and address concerns as the Care Labeling Rule mandates care disclosures such as “dryclean” that may be confusing to some consumers.

In light of these considerations and the recorded evidence suggesting that the Care Labeling Rule may be unnecessary and out of date, the FTC is seeking comments whether to repeal the Care Labeling Rule in its entirety, as well as comment on the costs, benefits, and market effects of repealing it as proposed, and particularly the cost on small businesses. Comments opposing the proposed repeal should explain the reasons they believe the Care Labeling Rule is still needed and, if appropriate, suggest specific alternatives.

For more information, please contact Stella Li (xingyu.li@intertek.com, +1- 503-351-9612), Pratik Ichhaporia (pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com, +1-847-212-8273), or Stephanie Bilotti (stephanie.bilotti@intertek.com).


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