Wednesday, July 24, 2013

FTC to Host Roundtable on Proposed Changes to its Care Labeling Rule for Clothing

As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC will host a public roundtable in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2013, to analyze proposed changes to its Care Labeling Rule.

The Rule, officially called the Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, requires manufacturers and importers to attach labels with care instructions for drycleaning washing, bleaching, drying and ironing of garments and certain piece goods.

In September 2012, the FTC sought comments on potential updates to the Rule. Based on comments the agency received, the roundtable will focus on a proposal to allow manufacturers and importers to include professional instructions for wetcleaning – an environmentally friendly alternative to drycleaning – on labels if the garment can be professionally wetcleaned and on whether the Commission should require a wetcleaning instruction for such garments. It will also address the cost of substantiating wetcleaning instructions, the availability of wetcleaning, consumer awareness of wetcleaning, and the content of labels providing a wetcleaning instruction.

The roundtable will also discuss the differences between ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) and both the 2005 and 2012 ISO (International Organization for Standardization) care symbols, whether labels should identify ISO symbols as such if used to comply with the Rule, the change in the meaning of the circle P symbol in the ASTM system, and consumer understanding of symbols. In addition, the roundtable will include a discussion about the absence of ASTM and ISO symbols for solvents other than perchloroethylene and petroleum. The roundtable also will address how to clarify what constitutes a reasonable basis for care instructions.

The roundtable will be held on October 1, 2013, from 9:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. in the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Requests to participate as a panelist must be received by September 3, 2013. Any written comments regarding the agenda topics, the issues discussed by the panelists at the roundtable, or the issues raised in comments received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking must be received by October 15, 2013.

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