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FTC Considers Repeal of Care Labeling Requirements for Apparel

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to repeal the mandatory care labeling requirements for apparel and certain textile piece goods because it believes they (1) may not be necessary to ensure that manufacturers provide care instructions, (2) may have failed to keep up with a dynamic marketplace, and (3) may negatively affect the development of new cleaning technologies and care symbol revisions. The FTC will accept comments from interested parties for a period of 60 days from the date of publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.

In effect since 1971, the care labeling rule requires manufacturers and importers of apparel and certain textile piece goods to attach labels with care instructions to their products, including instructions for dry cleaning or washing, bleaching, drying, and ironing. The FTC notes that the record in this rulemaking, including previously received public input, suggests that:

- manufacturers are likely to provide care instructions in the absence of the rule;

- the rule may have failed to keep up with the fabric care marketplace;

- the rule may have hampered innovation in the development of cleaning technologies and disclosures; and

- the rule’s repeal would provide additional flexibility to manufacturers and ease possible confusion for some consumers about the required disclosures.

The FTC is interested in public input on such matters as the costs and benefits to manufacturers, cleaners, and consumers if the rule is repealed or retained; deceptive or unfair practices in the marketplace related to care labeling; the impact of repeal on the care instructions manufacturers currently provide to consumers; and whether manufacturers would bear additional costs to make substantiated and accurate disclosures to consumers in the absence of the rule.

For more information on labeling requirements for textile and apparel products, please contact trade attorney Elise Shibles at (415) 490-1403.

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