Background

The Federal Trade Commission is accepting comments through Sept. 21 on a proposal to repeal the mandatory care labeling requirements for apparel and certain textile piece goods.

The care labeling rule requires importers and manufacturers 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. However, the FTC notes that the record in this rulemaking, including previously received public input, suggests that:

- manufacturers are likely to provide care instructions even without a rule due to market forces;

- the rule may have failed to keep up with advances in cleaning technology and care symbol revisions;

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

- the rule’s repeal would provide additional flexibility in labeling 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in public input on such matters as the costs and benefits to manufacturers, cleaners, and consumers if the rule is repealed or retained; deceptive or unfair practices in the marketplace related to care labeling; the impact of repeal on the care instructions manufacturers currently provide to consumers; and whether the FTC should issue specific guidance if the rule is repealed.

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

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