CINET reports; Care Labelling in the USA

Following last year's request from the Federal Trades commission (FTC) in the USA for comments as to whether the mandatory care labelling rule should be continued and what the benefits were etc, the FTC now is proposing to keep the rule but is recommending four specific revisions to the Rule:

  1. Allow garment manufacturers and marketers to include instructions for professional wetcleaning on labels.
  2. Permit the use of ASTM Standard D5489-07, "Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on Textile Products," or ISO 3758:2005(E), "Textiles — Care labelling code using symbols," in lieu of terms.
  3. Clarify what can constitute a reasonable basis for care instructions. Currently, a reasonable basis must consist of reliable evidence, not necessarily testing, supporting the instructions on the care label. The FTC is considering requiring “testing of the garment as a whole” in certain cases.
  4. Update and expand the definition of “dryclean” to reflect current practices and account for the advent of new solvents. Currently only perc and petroleum are specifically recognized under the Rule.  The proposed definition change includes other currently available solvents (perc, petroleum, glycol ether, carbon dioxide, aldehyde).
The FTC has asked for any comments to be submitted to them by 16th November. CINET will be submitting comments generally in support of the changes although we would wish the FTC to recognise the recently published revised ISO 3758 rather than the 2005 version and, whilst we like the idea of including the new processes and solvents, we are concerned that there are currently no test methods for these. This is a topic that we intend to raise with ISO TC 38 Textiles in an effort to develop appropriate tests.