[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 183 (Thursday, September 20, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 58338-58352]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22746]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 423


Trade Regulation Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel 
and Certain Piece Goods

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: Based on comments received in response to its Advance Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (``ANPR''), the Federal Trade Commission 
proposes to amend its trade regulation rule on Care Labeling of Textile 
Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods as Amended (``Rule'') to: Allow 
garment manufacturers and marketers to include instructions for 
professional wetcleaning on labels; 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; clarify what can constitute a 
reasonable basis for care instructions; and update the definition of 
``dryclean.'' In addition, the Commission seeks comment on several 
other issues.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before November 16, 
2012. Parties interested in an opportunity to present views orally 
should submit a request to do so as explained below, and such requests 
must be received on or before November 16, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper by 
following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 
CFR Part 423, Project No. R511915'' on your comment, and file your 
comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/carelabelingnprm by following the instructions on the Web-based form. 
If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail or deliver your 
comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of 
the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex B), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20580.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert M. Frisby, Attorney, Federal 
Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer 
Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, (202) 
326-2098.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission finds that using expedited 
procedures in this rulemaking will serve the public interest. 
Specifically, they support the Commission's goals of clarifying and 
updating existing regulations without undue expenditure of resources, 
while ensuring that the public has an opportunity to submit data, 
views, and arguments on whether the Commission should amend the Rule. 
Because written comments should adequately present the views of all 
interested parties, the Commission is not scheduling a public hearing 
or workshop. However, if any person would like to present views orally, 
he or she should follow the procedures set forth in the DATES, 
ADDRESSES, and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION sections of this document. 
Pursuant to 16 CFR 1.20, the Commission will use the procedures set 
forth in this document, including: (1) Publishing this Notice of 
Proposed

[[Page 58339]]

Rulemaking (``NPRM''); (2) soliciting written comments on the 
Commission's proposals to amend the Rule; (3) holding an informal 
hearing (such as a workshop) if requested by interested parties; (4) 
obtaining a final recommendation from staff; and (5) announcing final 
Commission action in a document published in the Federal Register. Any 
motions or petitions in connection with this proceeding must be filed 
with the Secretary of the Commission.

I. Introduction

    The Rule makes it an unfair or deceptive act or practice for 
manufacturers and importers of textile wearing apparel and certain 
piece goods to sell these items without attaching labels stating the 
care needed for the ordinary use of the product.\1\ The Rule also 
requires that the manufacturer or importer possess, prior to sale, a 
reasonable basis for care instructions \2\ and allows the use of 
approved care symbols in lieu of words to disclose those 
instructions.\3\
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    \1\ 16 CFR 423.5 and 423.6(a) and (b).
    \2\ 16 CFR 423.6(c).
    \3\ The Rule provides that the symbol system developed by ASTM 
International, formerly the American Society for Testing and 
Materials, and designated as ASTM Standard D5489-96c ``Guide to Care 
Symbols for Care Instructions on Consumer Textile Products'' may be 
used on care labels or care instructions in lieu of terms so long as 
the symbols fulfill the requirements of Part 423. 16 CFR 423.8(g).
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    The Commission promulgated the Rule in 1971 and has amended it 
three times since.\4\ In 1983, the Commission clarified its 
requirements regarding the disclosure of washing and drycleaning 
information.\5\ In 1997, the Commission adopted a conditional exemption 
to allow the use of symbols in lieu of words.\6\ In 2000, the 
Commission amended the Rule to clarify what constitutes a reasonable 
basis for care instructions and to change the Rule's definitions of 
``cold,'' ``warm,'' and ``hot'' water.\7\
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    \4\ Federal Trade Commission: Care Labeling of Textile Wearing 
Apparel: Promulgation of Trade Rule and Statement of Basis and 
Purpose, 36 FR 23883 (Dec. 16, 1971).
    \5\ Federal Trade Commission: Amendment to Trade Regulation Rule 
Concerning Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain 
Piece Goods, 48 FR 22733 (May 20, 1983).
    \6\ Federal Trade Commission: Concerning Trade Regulation Rule 
on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods; 
Conditional Exemption from Terminology Section of the Care Labeling 
Rule, 62 FR 5724 (Feb. 6, 1997).
    \7\ Federal Trade Commission: Trade Regulation Rule on Care 
Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, Final 
Amended Rule, 65 FR 47261 (Aug. 2, 2000).
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    In 2000, the Commission rejected two proposed amendments. First, 
the Commission did not require labels with instructions for home 
washing on items that one can safely wash at home, because the evidence 
was not sufficiently compelling to justify this change and the benefits 
of the proposed change were highly uncertain.\8\ Second, the Commission 
did not establish a definition for ``professional wetcleaning'' or 
permit manufacturers to label a garment with a ``Professionally 
Wetclean'' instruction.\9\ The Commission stated that it was premature 
to allow such an instruction before the development of a suitable 
definition and an appropriate test method \10\ and added that it would 
consider such an instruction if a more specific definition and/or test 
procedure were developed.\11\
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    \8\ Id. at 47269.
    \9\ The Commission proposed a definition of professional 
wetcleaning, stating, in part, that it is ``a system of cleaning by 
means of equipment consisting of a computer-controlled washer and 
dryer, wet cleaning software, and biodegradable chemicals 
specifically formulated to safely wet clean wool, silk, rayon, and 
other natural and man-made fibers.'' Id. at 47271 n. 99.
    \10\ Id. at 47272. The Commission explained that the definition 
must either describe all important variables in the process, so that 
manufacturers can determine that the process would not damage the 
garment, or be coupled with a specific test procedure that 
manufacturers can use to establish a reasonable basis for the 
instruction. Id.
    \11\ Id. at 47273.
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    As part of its ongoing regulatory review program, the Commission 
published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (``ANPR'') in July 
2011 seeking comment on the economic impact of, and the continuing need 
for, the Rule; the benefits of the Rule to consumers; and the burdens 
the Rule places on businesses.\12\ The ANPR also sought comment on 
whether and how the Rule should address professional wetcleaning and 
updated industry standards regarding the use of care symbols, as well 
as whether the Commission should address non-English disclosures.
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    \12\ Federal Trade Commission: Trade Regulation Rule on Care 
Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, Advance 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; request for comment, 76 FR 41148 
(July 13, 2011).
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    This NPRM summarizes the comments received by the Commission, 
explains the Commission's decision to retain the Rule, proposes several 
amendments to the Rule, and explains why the Commission has declined to 
propose certain amendments.\13\ It also poses questions soliciting 
additional comment and provides a regulatory analysis as well as 
analyses under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Paperwork 
Reduction Act. Finally, the NPRM sets forth the Commission's proposed 
Rule language.
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    \13\ The Commission publishes this NPRM pursuant to Section 18 
of the Federal Trade Commission Act (``FTC Act''), 15 U.S.C. 57a et 
seq., the provisions of Part 1, Subpart B of the Commission's Rules 
of Practice, 16 CFR 1.7, and 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq. This authority 
permits the Commission to promulgate, modify, and repeal trade 
regulation rules that define with specificity acts or practices that 
are unfair or deceptive in or affecting commerce within the meaning 
of Section 5(a)(1) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a)(1).
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II. Summary of Comments

    The Commission received 120 comments in response to the ANPR.\14\ 
Most were filed by individuals. At least 70 of these individuals 
identified themselves as owning or operating a cleaning business or 
working in the drycleaning or wetcleaning industries. The Commission 
also received comments from government agencies,\15\ industry standard-
setting organizations,\16\ environmental advocacy organizations,\17\ 
manufacturers and retailers,\18\ and trade associations representing 
industries affected by the Rule.\19\
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    \14\ The comments are posted at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/carelabelinganpr/index.shtm. The Commission has assigned each 
comment a number appearing after the name of the commenter and the 
date of submission. This notice cites comments using the last name 
of the individual submitter or the name of the organization, 
followed by the number assigned by the Commission.
    \15\ Three California agencies filed comments: The Air Resources 
Board (18), Department of Toxic Substances Control (123), and the 
San Francisco Department of the Environment (89).
    \16\ ASTM International (``ASTM'') (111) and GINETEX (83), which 
is responsible for the care labeling system used in European 
countries.
    \17\ The Coalition for Clean Air (119), the Toxic Use Reduction 
Institute (86), and the UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program 
(84).
    \18\ Miele (108), Miele & Cie. KG (110), The Children's Place 
(90), and The Clorox Company (122).
    \19\ The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (``AHAM'') 
(114), American Apparel & Footwear Association (113), Professional 
Wet Cleaners Association (``PWA'') (73) and (102), Association of 
Wedding Gown Specialists (``AWGS'') (22), National Cleaners 
Association and Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (124), Professional 
Leather Cleaners Association (``PLCA'') (109), International 
Drycleaners Congress (``IDC'') (47), and Textile Industry Affairs 
(112).
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    All but two of the numerous comments that addressed retention of 
the Rule favored it.\20\ Comments from

[[Page 58340]]

the apparel manufacturing and cleaning industries uniformly supported 
the Rule. For example, the American Apparel & Footwear Association 
(``AAFA'') stated that the labels benefit consumers, manufacturers, and 
business in general, as they allow for the necessary flow of 
information along the commodity chain. Similarly, the National Cleaners 
Association (``NCA'') and the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (``DLI'') 
stated that the Rule provides valuable guidance on care to consumers 
and industry. Textile Industry Affairs (``TIA'') noted that the Rule 
has generated dramatic benefits to both consumers and manufacturers, 
and that no apparel manufacturers that have complied with the Rule have 
ever reported any negative consumer impact.
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    \20\ GINETEX argued that the Rule should not be mandatory for 
textile and apparel companies because a voluntary scheme would adapt 
in a timely manner to technical and environmental developments as 
well as innovations, while adjustments to mandatory rules are very 
cumbersome to implement. It also argued that national rules not in 
line with international standards can create a nontariff barrier to 
trade, and that the ASTM standard creates an unnecessary obstacle to 
international trade. A retailer argued that the time and effort 
spent on labels required by the Rule does not really serve the 
ultimate goal of educating consumers on laundering habits. Kambam 
(4).
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    While the comments indicate widespread support for the Rule, most 
argued that the Commission should update or expand it in various ways. 
In particular, many comments urged the Commission to address 
professional wetcleaning by either requiring or allowing manufacturers 
to disclose a wetcleaning instruction. Still others urged the 
Commission to update the Rule's provisions allowing the use of care 
symbols by incorporating the latest ASTM or International Organization 
for Standardization (``ISO'') care symbol standards, allowing 
manufacturers to follow either standard, or adopting new symbols for 
professional cleaning. Several comments requested clarification of the 
Rule's reasonable basis provisions or imposition of testing 
requirements on manufacturers. Others advocated updating the definition 
of ``dryclean'' and the Appendix to reflect the development of new 
solvents and cleaning technologies and practices. Some comments urged 
the Commission to require manufacturers to disclose all appropriate 
methods of care on labels. Further, some comments urged the Commission 
to amend the Rule to require the disclosure of additional information 
such as fiber content or more detailed care instructions, to disallow 
certain instructions currently permitted by the Rule, or to impose 
additional obligations. Several comments addressed disclosures made in 
multiple languages.

A. Professional Wetcleaning

    Slightly more than half of the 120 comments received by the 
Commission stated or implied that the Commission should permit, or 
require, a professional wetcleaning instruction on garments that can be 
wetcleaned. Wetcleaning is an alternative to drycleaning and involves 
professionals cleaning products in water using special technology 
(cleaning, rinsing, and spinning), detergents, and additives to 
minimize adverse effects, followed by appropriate drying and 
restorative finishing procedures. Of the comments addressing this 
issue, only three expressed concerns.\21\ Comments favoring a 
wetcleaning instruction made several arguments in support of their 
position.
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    \21\ AHAM urged the Commission to gather data on consumer 
knowledge and the availability of wetcleaning before amending the 
Rule to address it. AHAM (114). One commenter stated that 
wetcleaning is not a viable alternative to drycleaning. Enderlin 
(63). PLCA did not take a position on wetcleaning, but noted that 
there are not enough cleaners trained in wetcleaning. PLCA (109).
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    First, they touted the economic, health, and environmental benefits 
of wetcleaning. For example, based on its analysis of scientific 
literature on the health and environmental impacts of drycleaning 
solvents, and its review of operational costs and compliance-related 
impacts, the San Francisco Department of the Environment determined 
that professional wetcleaning is the most environmentally-preferable 
professional cleaning option.\22\ The Toxic Use Reduction Institute 
stated that the benefits from professional wetcleaning include 
decreased use of energy and water, significant air quality improvement 
in the shop, and improved employee health and satisfaction.\23\ It 
explained that over 80% of the U.S. professional garment cleaning 
industry uses perchloroethylene (``perc''), and that studies have 
identified ecological and human health hazards associated with its 
use.\24\ It added that the National Institute for Occupational Safety 
and Health has recommended handling perc as a human carcinogen, and the 
Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a probable human 
carcinogen.\25\ Two comments noted that, starting in 2023, California 
drycleaners can no longer use perc.\26\ A number of others favored 
wetcleaning due to concerns about using toxic or unhealthy drycleaning 
solvents.\27\ Others noted that wetcleaning can produce better results 
than drycleaning in some circumstances.\28\
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    \22\ San Francisco Department of the Environment (89). This 
comment included a chart showing the results of its analysis.
    \23\ Toxic Use Reduction Institute (86).
    \24\  Id.
    \25\  Id. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control 
also explained the environmental problems caused by perc. (123).
    \26\ Air Resources Board (18) and NCA and DLI (24).
    \27\ E.g., Addison (81); Bohnet (80); Chung (70); and Xu (101).
    \28\ One comment explained that the absence of wetcleaning 
labels limits cleaners in offering the best process when it comes to 
cleaning performance (e.g., water-soluble stains) or fabric-related 
cleaning processes (e.g., polyurethane). Miele & Cie. KG (110). A 
comment from a cleaner noted that some stains can be removed only 
with water. Kaplan (57). Another comment stated that wetcleaning is 
a necessary method for certain combinations of soil and fabric. 
Riggs (53).
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    Second, several comments explained that the number of cleaners 
providing professional wetcleaning has increased and that consumers 
increasingly use or prefer it. Two trade associations reported that 
professional wetcleaning is now widespread in the industry.\29\ Another 
stated that wetcleaning has been steadily growing in the United States 
for over a decade.\30\ Yet another explained that professional 
wetcleaning has come a long way in the last few years, and that many 
traditionally drycleaned garments can be wetcleaned with good 
results.\31\
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    \29\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \30\ Press on Cleaners (120).
    \31\ Patterson (14).
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    Several comments provided data on the number of cleaners providing 
wetcleaning and the number of garments they clean. For example, one 
comment stated that over 200 perc drycleaners in California have 
switched to wetcleaning and successfully cleaned the full range of 
garments they previously drycleaned.\32\ Two comments noted the success 
of well over 120 professional wetcleaners in California who clean over 
75 million garment pieces annually.\33\ Another explained that there 
are hundreds of professional wetcleaners in the United States who use 
only water and soap to clean all garments presented to them.\34\ This 
comment also indicated that there are 80 Miele professional wetcleaners 
in California, and that they process four million articles of clothing 
a year.\35\
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    \32\ Coalition for Clean Air (119).
    \33\ Chang and PWA (73) and Sim (116). Another comment stated 
that there are over 120 professional wetcleaners in California that 
clean over 250,000 pieces of garments across the state daily. Press 
on Cleaners (120).
    \34\ Miele (108).
    \35\  Id.
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    Other comments cited the experience of individual cleaners that 
increasingly replace drycleaning with wetcleaning. For example, one 
comment from a cleaning business stated that wetcleaning is becoming 
common, and that it wetcleans approximately 65%-80% of the clothes it 
washes.\36\ Another commenter stated that it wetcleans 100% of garments 
and that the instruction ``dryclean only'' has lost its meaning.\37\
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    \36\ Peltier (43).
    \37\ Behzadi (69).
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    Several comments noted the development of industry standard care

[[Page 58341]]

symbols for wetcleaning. Indeed, ASTM and ISO have adopted consistent 
care symbols for professional wetcleaning.\38\ ISO has also issued a 
standard on testing garments to determine whether they can be 
wetcleaned.\39\
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    \38\ UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84); Toxic 
Use Reduction Institute (86); and Riggs (53). See ASTM D5489-07, 
``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on Textile 
Products,'' and ISO 3758:2005(E), ``Textiles--Care labelling code 
using symbols.''
    \39\ UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84); Toxic 
Use Reduction Institute (86); and Riggs (53). ISO 3175-4:2003, 
``Textiles--Professional care, drycleaning and wetcleaning of 
fabrics and garments--Part 4: Procedure for testing performance when 
cleaning and finishing using simulated wetcleaning.''
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    Finally, several comments argued that the Rule's failure to address 
wetcleaning places professional wetcleaners and equipment vendors at a 
competitive disadvantage and discourages greater use of 
wetcleaning.\40\
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    \40\ E.g., Miele (108) and San Francisco Department of the 
Environment (89). Another comment argued that labeling garments 
``Dry Clean'' or ``Dry Clean Only'' even though they can be 
successfully wetcleaned is unfair to professional wetcleaners. If a 
consumer prefers to dryclean such garments, the wetcleaner faces the 
prospect of losing the business or deceiving the consumer by 
wetcleaning instead of drycleaning such garments. The dilemma of 
either lying to the customer or potentially losing business makes 
professional wetcleaning unappealing to many drycleaners. PWA (102).
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    The comments urging the Commission to amend the Rule to address 
wetcleaning differ on whether the Commission should require a 
wetcleaning instruction or merely permit one. Moreover, many urge the 
Commission to address wetcleaning without specifying exactly how. Of 
those comments taking a position, the vast majority favored amending 
the Rule to require a professional wetcleaning instruction if the 
garment can be wetcleaned.\41\ Comments argued that requiring the 
instruction would provide consumers and cleaners with more and better 
options, and produce various benefits as more consumers choose 
wetcleaning.\42\ One comment expressed concern that failing to require 
an instruction might result in most manufacturers choosing not to 
disclose that wetcleaning is a viable option, thereby deceiving 
customers and treating wetcleaners unfairly.\43\
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    \41\ E.g., Anonymous (106); Bromagen (91); Draper (100); 
Eldridge (46); Evans (67); Fox (107); Hagearty (61); NCA and DLI 
(124); Overmoe (66); Preece (54); Raggi (30); San Francisco 
Department of the Environment (89); Tebbs (47); Toxic Use Reduction 
Institute (86); UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84).
    \42\ E.g., NCA and DLI (124) and San Francisco Department of the 
Environment (89).
    \43\ UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84).
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    In addition, several commenters that do not appear to manufacture 
or market apparel argued that the benefits of requiring a wetcleaning 
instruction would exceed the added labeling and testing costs to 
manufacturers. One comment explained that the vast majority of 
manufacturers use experience and expertise to determine the care 
label.\44\ It added that, because experience and expertise are free or 
virtually free, the economic impact of requiring a wetclean label 
likely is de minimus.\45\ It further explained that most manufacturers 
test garments by sending them to established cleaners and use in-house 
staff to evaluate results and that this method requires no capital 
equipment cost and only a marginal cost.\46\ DLI and NCA advised that 
they currently provide care label guidance to garment manufacturers and 
that the average cost to provide appropriate and comprehensive washing, 
drycleaning and wetcleaning instructions would be under $1,400.\47\ 
Another comment noted that testing is not that expensive and would not 
lead to a large increase in the cost of an item and that any extra 
costs would fall as universal testing reduces testing costs per 
item.\48\
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    \44\ Id.
    \45\ Id.
    \46\ Id.
    \47\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \48\ Riggs (53).
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    A smaller number of comments indicated that they favored amending 
the Rule to permit, but not require, a wetcleaning instruction. One 
comment argued that allowing the instruction on labeling will reconfirm 
to the public that this method is accepted and safe and encourage 
manufacturers to produce more garments that do not need to be cleaned 
in a solvent.\49\ Another supported permitting a wetcleaning 
instruction by amending the symbol sets to include wetcleaning because 
there appears to be expert consensus that clear testing protocols exist 
to verify its safety, and stated that the consumer and environmental 
benefits of wetcleaning are worthy of consideration.\50\
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    \49\ Huie (71).
    \50\ Textile Industry Affairs (112).
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    Many comments simply urged the Commission to address wetcleaning 
without specifying how.\51\ For example, one comment stated that the 
Commission seriously should consider adding wetcleaning because of its 
consumer and environmental benefits.\52\ It also explained that, with 
the development of ISO standards, there now appear to be consensus 
testing protocols to verify a safe care process.\53\
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    \51\ E.g., Air Resources Board (18); Bosshard (13); Chang (88); 
Santana (12); and Schoeplein (27).
    \52\ The Clorox Company (122).
    \53\  Id.
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B. Use of Care Symbols

    With a few exceptions, the comments addressing the use of symbols 
to provide care instructions favored their continued use.\54\ One 
comment stated that the current FTC-approved symbols do a good job of 
covering most of the home and professional care needs in the United 
States.\55\ It therefore did not advocate modifying any of the symbols, 
as consumers are just now becoming familiar with them.\56\ Several 
comments, however, advocated modifying the Rule to refer to the most 
recent version of the ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care 
Instructions on Textile Products,'' ASTM D5489, instead of the older 
version of the ASTM standard currently referenced.\57\ One comment 
urged the Commission to exclude the standard's date; it explained that 
ASTM D5489-07 is the most recent standard and that, by not designating 
the year, the Commission can ensure that the most recent standard is 
used.\58\ It added that D 5489-07 is an international standard as 
defined by the WTO TBT Agreement, and that, as a signatory to this 
agreement, the United States is pledged to use international standards 
as the basis for technical regulations when possible.\59\ Others urged 
the Commission to address the development of ASTM symbols without 
indicating how it should do so.\60\ Another explained that it would be 
very helpful if the care instructions on foreign and domestic labels 
were in agreement or, at a minimum, contained ASTM symbols.\61\
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    \54\ Two commenters stated that they do not like the use of 
symbols. Charles (3) and Vlasits (6). Other comments urged the 
Commission to require care symbols on all textile products. Fox 
(107) and Old Town Dry Cleaners (56).
    \55\ Textile Industry Affairs (112).
    \56\ Id.
    \57\ ASTM (111); Evans (67); and The Children's Place (90). 
Another comment argued that the Rule should keep pace with 
developments in the ASTM system, and that the biggest challenge with 
symbols is educating the consumer. NCA and DLI (124). It advised 
that care symbols are not prevalent in the United States. Id.
    \58\ ASTM (111).
    \59\ Id.
    \60\ Preece (54) and Yazdani (78).
    \61\ Professional Leather Cleaners Association (109).
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    A number of comments expressed support for harmonizing the ASTM 
symbols allowed under the Rule with those used internationally.\62\ One 
comment favoring harmonization concluded that the Rule prevents a 
global ISO Standard and that ISO symbols should supplant ASTM

[[Page 58342]]

symbols.\63\ It explained that the ASTM and the ISO symbols are similar 
but not the same and that ISO symbols are used in every country except 
South Korea, Japan, and the United States (and that Japan is working on 
harmonizing ISO and the JIC standards that apply in Japan).\64\ Another 
favored one set of worldwide symbols and explained that the ISO 
recommends a complete set of care symbols, including washing, 
bleaching, ironing, drying, and professional care.\65\ It added that 
these symbols are consistent with those developed by ASTM.\66\ Some 
comments argued that harmonizing symbols would also address problems 
stemming from label disclosures in multiple languages.\67\ One of these 
comments favored harmonization but argued that, as an alternative, the 
Rule should allow manufacturers to use either ASTM or ISO symbols in 
the United States, to relieve some of the burden and increase the 
accessibility of global trade.\68\ It stated that differences among the 
symbol systems cause confusion and limit the opportunities for trade 
growth.\69\ Another comment proposed that the Rule provide for or 
recognize agreements between the United States and other countries to 
accept international and national care label symbol systems currently 
in use in the global marketplace.\70\
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    \62\ AHAM (114); American Apparel & Footwear Association (113); 
Draper (100); GINETEX (83); Johnson (50); O'Connor (20); Textile 
Industry Affairs (112); and The Clorox Company (122).
    \63\ GINETEX (83).
    \64\ Id.
    \65\ Riggs (53).
    \66\ Id.
    \67\ American Apparel & Footwear Association (113) and The 
Children's Place (90).
    \68\ American Apparel & Footwear Association (113).
    \69\ Id.
    \70\ The Children's Place (90).
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    Still others favored acceptance of ISO or internationally-accepted 
symbols without addressing the ASTM symbols.\71\ Three comments urged 
the Commission to adopt or accept the ISO standard.\72\ One supported 
adding to the symbols in cases where there are clear testing protocols 
to verify the safety of a care process.\73\ It explained that, in the 
case of wetcleaning, there appears to be expert consensus that a new 
test does just that.\74\
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    \71\ Cote (58); Horrigan (17); Thorsteinson (45); and Yazdani 
(78).
    \72\ UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84); White 
(15); and GINETEX (83). As noted above, GINETEX argued that the ISO 
symbols should supplant the ASTM symbols.
    \73\ Textile Industry Affairs (112).
    \74\ Id.
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    GreenEarth Cleaning (``GreenEarth'') advocated a different approach 
to disclosing professional cleaning instructions. It argued that the 
ASTM and ISO professional cleaning symbols are inadequate because they 
are based on particular solvents rather than solvent 
characteristics.\75\ It explained that the increasing number of 
solvents and advances in technology call for an approach addressing 
solvent aggressiveness (cleaning method) and mechanical action (cycle); 
it proposed that a Kauri-Butanol Value (``KBV'') of 35 or less be 
designated as ``gentle'' and that a ``fragile'' or ``very fragile'' 
instruction be provided for items needing minimized mechanical 
action.\76\ It stated that the KBV is widely recognized in the textile 
care industry as having the greatest influence on the processing of 
textiles.\77\ This comment further argued that there is a direct 
correlation between propensity for garment damage and a higher solvent 
KBV.\78\ GreenEarth proposed specific cleaning method and cycle symbols 
to replace the current ASTM and ISO symbols and urged the Commission to 
make every effort to implement simple, consistent international symbols 
that can be universally interpreted to ensure the best care for 
garments.\79\ No other comment favored this proposal.
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    \75\ GreenEarth Cleaning (98) at 2.
    \76\ Id. at 2-3.
    \77\  Id. at 2.
    \78\ Id. at 4.
    \79\ Id. at 2-3.
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    In addition to proposing new symbols, GreenEarth advocated parallel 
changes to the ``overarching nomenclature and the guiding principle'' 
behind the Rule, to improve the reliability and understandability of 
care labels.\80\ Specifically, it proposed replacing the instructions 
``dry clean,'' ``do not dry clean,'' ``wetclean,'' and ``do not 
wetclean'' with simplified categories of ``cleaning method'' and 
``cycle.'' It also proposed that ``cleaning method'' would encompass 
all types of professional cleaning, including wetcleaning, and 
``cycle'' would address the level of mechanical action.\81\ As with its 
proposed symbols, GreenEarth would classify cleaning methods based on 
solvent aggressiveness rather than solvent type.\82\ For the ``cycle'' 
category, GreenEarth would replace ``mild'' and ``very mild'' with 
``fragile'' and ``very fragile.'' \83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \80\ Id. at 2.
    \81\ Id.
    \82\ Id.
    \83\ Id. at 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two comments addressed the presentation of symbols. One argued that 
the current system works well, but that some uniformity regarding 
location, size, composition, and font size would greatly help the 
industry.\84\ Another comment proposed attaching the international care 
label symbols to the garments in a small, removable brochure or paper, 
or in an online link address for such information.\85\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ Raggi (30).
    \85\ Santana (12).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. The Rule's Reasonable Basis Provisions

    Four comments argued that the Commission should clarify or 
strengthen the Rule's provision requiring manufacturers to have a 
reasonable basis for care instructions. One urged the Commission to 
strengthen the reasonable basis requirements and hold manufacturers 
accountable to individual consumers for inappropriate care 
instructions.\86\ Two argued that the Commission should clarify the 
reasonable basis provisions because some non-compliant parties appear 
to be misinformed or to misunderstand the requirement.\87\ They 
suggested that the Commission request fresh data from manufacturers 
regarding their reasonable basis for their current care 
instructions.\88\ One of them argued that, given standardized testing 
(e.g., ASTM methodology) for colorfastness and garment integrity (e.g., 
tensile strength), the Commission should require actual data to support 
care instructions.\89\ Another comment favored requiring manufacturers 
to test products with all available processes, including 
wetcleaning.\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \86\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \87\ Textile Industry Affairs (112) and The Clorox Company 
(122). They stated that disclosing an instruction based on 
``unreasonable'' and ``possible'' fabric impact is not an acceptable 
instruction or warning.
    \88\ Id.
    \89\ The Clorox Company (122).
    \90\ Behzadi (69).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Rule Definitions and Appendix

    Several comments urged the Commission to update the Rule's 
definition of ``dryclean,'' as well as the Appendix. One comment urged 
the Commission to adopt a broader definition of ``dryclean.'' \91\ It 
explained that, 25 years ago, only two solvents were widely used--perc 
and petroleum.\92\ It added that now there are many solvents, including 
high flash hydrocarbons, silicones, glycol ethers, carbon dioxide, 
aldehydes, and wetcleaning.\93\ It also reported that: fluorocarbon 
solvent, one of the solvents listed in the definition, is no longer 
used; new hydrocarbon drying parameters are different from those of 
early petroleum solvents; and not all solvents are organically 
based.\94\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \91\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \92\ Id.
    \93\ Id.
    \94\ Id.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 58343]]

    Four comments from cleaners similarly argued that the current 
definition of drycleaning is very limiting.\95\ The first reported that 
it adopted a new solvent, but has concerns because labels do not 
provide the information needed.\96\ The second reported that it 
hesitated to adopt a new solvent because it is not recognized by the 
Rule.\97\ The third reported that it wanted to use a new solvent, which 
involves purchasing a costly new machine, but hesitated because the 
solvent or process is not recognized by the Rule.\98\ The comment 
argued that the Rule should not curtail technological advancement.\99\ 
The fourth urged the Commission to expand Rule to address other 
solvents, such as SolvonK4 by Kreussler.\100\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \95\ Bromagen (91); Hagearty (61); Preece (54); and Yazdani 
(78).
    \96\ Bromagen (91).
    \97\ Hagearty (61).
    \98\ Preece (54).
    \99\ Id.
    \100\ Brunette (115).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two comments urged the Commission to revise Appendix A. One advised 
that Appendix A of the Rule diverges from ASTM D5489, although it did 
not identify how or explain why amendments are warranted.\101\ Another 
urged the Commission to suggest that all leather goods have a more 
specific care label, such as ``Leather Clean and Refinish by 
Professional Leather Cleaner Only,'' and to expand the definition in 
Appendix A.8 to read ``Leather Clean and Refinish by Professional 
Leather Cleaner Only.'' \102\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \101\ ASTM (111).
    \102\ Professional Leather Cleaners Association (109).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

E. Instruction on All Appropriate Methods of Care

    Several comments from the cleaning industry urged the Commission to 
amend the Rule to require manufacturers to include instructions on all 
appropriate methods of care.\103\ As one comment explained, this would 
empower consumers to decide whether they want to care for the garment 
at home or use a professional cleaner.\104\ It added that, by listing 
all methods of care, the label would eliminate guesswork regarding 
whether a care method is not listed because it will cause damage.\105\ 
Others explained that such a label would enable the cleaner to select 
the best cleaning method based on the type of soils on the garment or 
the customer's requests.\106\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \103\ E.g., Bromagen (91); Draper (100); Edwards (97); Evans 
(67); Hagearty (61); Kudler (72); Maisel (34); McKay (104); NCA and 
DLI (124); Overmoe (66); Preece (54); Tebbs (47); Widmar (48); and 
Yazdani (78).
    \104\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \105\ Id.
    \106\ Overmoe (66) and Preece (54).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

F. Additional Issues

    Some comments proposed amending the Rule to require additional 
disclosures, disallow certain care instructions currently allowed by 
the Rule, address the format or composition of labels, expand the scope 
of the Rule, or impose additional requirements. Additionally, several 
comments addressed the use of multiple languages on care labels.
    Five comments urged the Commission to require disclosure of fiber, 
fabric, or component content.\107\ One of them also advocated requiring 
disclosure of the content of all fabrics, linings, and trims, including 
applied water repellant coatings or sizing that may be removed during 
processing.\108\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \107\ Chambers (92); Hiebert (64); Professional Leather Cleaners 
Association (109); Santana (12); and Wilson (32).
    \108\ Hiebert (64).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Other comments urged the Commission to require more detailed care 
instructions or disclosure of additional information related to 
care.\109\ For example, one comment urged the Commission to address the 
instruction ``exclusive of trim'' where the trim is not removable.\110\ 
Another urged the Commission to require disclosure of the type of dye 
method used to lessen the likelihood of damaged garments.\111\ Another 
stated that the Rule should require more details, including how and 
which drycleaning fluid can, or cannot, be used for the garment.\112\ 
Yet another argued that any care that the manufacturer knows could harm 
the garment should be specifically stated as a ``Do Not'' warning.\113\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \109\ One comment advocated guidelines for designating specific 
solvent characteristics, such as KB value, polarity, and water 
solubility, on pre-existing labels. Cote (58).
    \110\ Chelsky (38).
    \111\ King (19).
    \112\ Momin (51).
    \113\ NCA and DLI (124).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One comment proposed that the Rule provide that the care 
instruction indicate the maximum treatment that can be applied to the 
item.\114\ The comment explained that the Rule allows a manufacturer to 
provide an instruction, such as ``dry flat'' even if a more severe 
method, such as ``tumble dry,'' will not harm the garment. Under the 
ISO standard the care instruction provided is the most severe method 
that can be used without damaging the article.\115\ Another comment 
argued that the Rule should require that jobbers who add trimming, 
ornaments or feathers, etc., to an item must change or add additional 
labels and add the jobbers' names and contact info.\116\ Another 
comment argued, among other things, that labels should disclose a 
serial number and an address for a Web site providing several 
additional categories of information and countries of manufacture.\117\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \114\ GINETEX (83).
    \115\ Id.
    \116\ Zeidel (29).
    \117\ Winn (40).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Moreover, one comment argued that care tags could be replaced or 
made much smaller and simpler with the use of a unique identifier for 
every garment, such as a barcode, QR code, or an RFID chip.\118\ It 
explained that the code would include a manufacturer ID, product ID, 
and serial number, and that the manufacturer would input this 
information into a centralized database that could be accessed by 
consumers, retailers, drycleaners, etc.\119\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \118\ Levy (99).
    \119\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Another comment addressed disclosure of an item's point of origin. 
It urged the Commission to require disclosure of the state for items 
allowed a ``made in the United States'' label.\120\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \120\ Fisher (24).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Other comments argued that the Commission should disallow certain 
care instructions that they view as providing little, if any, benefit 
to consumers, or to otherwise limit care instructions. One comment 
argued that all garments should be serviceable, and opposed ``Do not 
wash. Do not dryclean'' labels.\121\ One stated that care methods 
should be dryclean only, clean by any method, and cannot be 
cleaned.\122\ Another stated that too many labels state ``remove trim 
before cleaning'' where removing the trim results in taking apart the 
garment.\123\ One stated that labels that specify ``Spot Clean'' should 
be disallowed.\124\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \121\ Brunette (115).
    \122\ Enderlin (63).
    \123\ O'Connor (20).
    \124\ Shaw (33).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two comments addressed the format or composition of the labels 
required by the Rule. One argued that labels should be a standard size, 
printed on white material only, using stable black ink, non-soluble in 
water and drycleaning solvents.\125\ The other argued that care labels 
need to be securely attached to the garment, and not by a few stitches, 
to avoid causing holes in the garments after a few cleanings.\126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \125\ Horrigan (17).
    \126\ Maknojia (87).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two comments addressed the scope of the Rule. One argued that the 
Rule

[[Page 58344]]

should continue to exempt rental garments, such as corporate uniforms, 
because many of them require professional care for health reasons.\127\ 
The other proposed requiring care labels for household items such as 
comforters, drapes, etc.\128\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \127\ American Apparel & Footwear Association (113).
    \128\ Kudler (72).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Four comments favored imposing additional obligations under the 
Rule other than labeling. One urged the establishment of an electronic 
database for reporting insufficient or incorrect labeling so consumers 
can research problems.\129\ Another urged the Commission to add 
provisions holding manufacturers accountable to individual consumers 
for inappropriate care instructions.\130\ A third advocated providing 
that a consumer can return a failed garment to the place of purchase 
for a refund, that the place of purchase must keep a record of the 
garment, and that the point of sale vendor will be able to get refunds 
from its vendor.\131\ A fourth urged the creation of guidelines for 
specific solvent characteristics, such as KB value, polarity, and water 
solubility, to allow for easy testing on the manufacturing side and to 
encourage eco-friendly alternatives on the care side.\132\ It added 
that solvent developers could provide MSDS sheets (material safety data 
sheets) and publicly-available materials for ease of use by 
manufacturers, dry-cleaners and consumers.\133\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \129\ Bosshard (13).
    \130\ NCA and DLI (124).
    \131\ Sabo (23).
    \132\ White (15).
    \133\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally, several comments argued that the Rule should not require 
multiple language disclosures.\134\ One stated that labels should be 
only in English, and another stated that English is the only language 
needed on labels.\135\ One added that English is a must but other 
languages can be an option.\136\ Another argued that labels for clothes 
to be purchased in the United States should be in English, and for 
clothes available for purchase in multiple countries, the label should 
be in multiple languages.\137\ Yet another stated that labels should be 
in English and that symbols should eliminate the need for additional 
languages.\138\ Another argued that the label should be in English with 
internationally-accepted symbols and that those cleaners who do not 
speak or read English well should contact their own association for a 
translation of the international symbols.\139\ None of the comments 
proposed amending the Rule to address the format for presenting care 
instructions in more than one language, other than to note that using 
symbols would address problems stemming from disclosures in multiple 
languages.\140\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \134\ One commenter, a consumer who does not indicate any 
affiliation with an organization, stated that she does not like 
having so many language translations. Charles (3).
    \135\ Branfuhr (42) and Childers (49).
    \136\ Maknojia (87).
    \137\ Vlasits (6).
    \138\ Hurley (60).
    \139\ Thorsteinson (45).
    \140\ American Apparel & Footwear Association (113) and Hurley 
(60).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 III. The Commission Retains the Rule

    The record shows wide support for the Rule from all the major 
industries affected by its provisions as well as from consumers. Among 
other things, comments supporting the Rule explained that it benefits 
consumers, manufacturers, and businesses in general and provides 
valuable guidance on care to consumers and the fabricare industry.
    Two comments opposing the Rule, one filed by GINETEX and the other 
by a retailer, failed to provide any tangible evidence to support their 
assertions.\141\ There is no evidence in the record showing that a 
voluntary scheme would work better than the Rule, that the ASTM care 
symbols permitted by the Rule create an unnecessary obstacle to 
international trade, or that the time and effort spent on the labels 
required by the Rule do not serve the goal of educating consumers about 
how to care for their garments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \141\ See footnote 20 for more details about these comments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In light of the many stakeholder comments expressing support for 
the Rule, the Commission concludes that a continuing need exists for 
the Rule and that the Rule imposes reasonable costs on the industry. 
The Commission therefore concludes that the weight of the record 
evidence clearly supports retention of the Rule.

IV. Proposed Amendments

    Many of the comments supporting the Rule also advocated various 
amendments. Accordingly, based on the comments and the evidence 
discussed herein, the Commission proposes to amend the Rule in the 
following four ways.\142\ First, the Commission proposes to permit 
manufacturers and importers to provide a care instruction for 
professional wetcleaning on labels if the garment can be professionally 
wetcleaned. Second, the Commission proposes to permit manufacturers and 
importers to use the symbol system set forth in either ASTM Standard 
D5489-07, ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on 
Textile Products,'' or ISO 3758:2005(E), ``Textiles C Care labelling 
code using symbols.'' Third, the Commission proposes to clarify what 
constitutes a reasonable basis for care instructions. Finally, the 
Commission proposes to update the definition of ``dryclean'' to reflect 
current practices and technology.\143\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \142\ The Commission can issue a NPRM under the FTC Act if it 
has ``reason to believe that the unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices which are the subject of the proposed rulemaking are 
prevalent.'' 15 U.S.C. 57a(b)(3). The Commission can find ``unfair 
or deceptive acts or practices are prevalent'' where: ``(A) it has 
issued cease and desist orders regarding such acts or practices, or 
(B) any other information available to the Commission indicates a 
widespread pattern of unfair or deceptive acts or practices.'' Id. 
at 57a(b)(3)(A)-(B). The Commission has ``wide latitude'' in 
fashioning a remedy and need only show a ``reasonable relationship'' 
between the unfair or deceptive act or practice and the remedy. 
American Fin. Servs. Ass'n v. FTC, 767 F.2d 957, 988 (DC Cir. 1985) 
(quoting Jacob Siegel Co. v. FTC, 327 U.S. 608, 612-13 (1946)).
    \143\ The Commission also proposes to delete the words ``As 
Amended'' from the Rule's title. These words do not serve any 
purpose, and none of the other titles of Commission rules that have 
been amended include these words.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Professional Wetcleaning

    As noted above, in 2000, the Commission declined to amend the Rule 
to permit a ``Professionally Wetclean'' instruction on labels. The 
Commission stated that it would consider permitting such an instruction 
if a more specific definition and/or test procedure were developed that 
provided manufacturers with a reasonable basis for a wetcleaning 
instruction.\144\ The Commission explained at the time that it was 
premature to permit such an instruction due to the absence of a 
suitable definition and appropriate test method.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \144\ Federal Trade Commission: Trade Regulation Rule on Care 
Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain Piece Goods, Final 
Amended Rule, 65 FR 47261, 47273 (Aug. 2, 2000).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The record now shows that these conditions have been met. ISO has 
developed ISO 3175-4:2003, ``Textiles--Professional care, drycleaning 
and wetcleaning of fabrics and garments--Part 4: Procedure for testing 
performance when cleaning and finishing using simulated wetcleaning.'' 
This standard includes a definition of wetcleaning and test procedures 
for determining whether apparel can be wetcleaned professionally. 
Several comments favoring a wetcleaning instruction cited this standard 
approvingly.\145\ None of the comments

[[Page 58345]]

argued that the ISO standard is inadequate.\146\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \145\ UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (84); Toxic 
Use Reduction Institute (86); and Riggs (53).
    \146\ The standard ISO 3758:2005(E), ``Textiles--Care labelling 
code using symbols'' also defines wetcleaning.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As described in Section II.A, the record shows widespread support 
for amending the Rule to include professional wetcleaning. Many 
comments explained the economic, environmental, and health benefits of 
wetcleaning. They also noted the increasing industry acceptance and use 
of wetcleaning, the inclusion of wetcleaning symbols in both the ASTM 
and ISO care symbol systems, and the risk that failing to allow an 
instruction could place wetcleaners at a disadvantage, thereby 
discouraging its use despite its advantages. The increasing industry 
acceptance and use of wetcleaning and the inclusion of wetcleaning 
symbols in both the ASTM and ISO systems establish the prevalence of 
wetcleaning. Only three comments expressed reservations, and none of 
them provided evidence that amending the Rule would harm consumers or 
that the cost of doing so would exceed the benefits.
    While the record supports permitting a professional wetcleaning 
instruction, it does not warrant requiring such an instruction. None of 
the comments provided evidence that the absence of a wetcleaning 
instruction for products that can be wetcleaned would result in 
deception or unfairness under the FTC Act. Nor did they provide 
evidence that the benefits of requiring a wetcleaning instruction would 
exceed the costs such a requirement would impose on manufacturers and 
importers.\147\ Thus, the Commission declines to propose amending the 
Rule to require a wetcleaning instruction. If consumers prefer 
wetcleaning to drycleaning and make their purchase decisions 
accordingly, manufacturers and importers will have an incentive to 
provide a wetcleaning instruction either in addition to, or in lieu of, 
a drycleaning instruction. Furthermore, by treating drycleaning and 
wetcleaning in a similar fashion--as care procedures that manufacturers 
and importers can disclose to comply with the Rule--the Rule as 
proposed would help level the playing field for the drycleaning and 
wetcleaning industries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \147\ Also, the comments stating that the benefits of requiring 
a wetcleaning instruction would exceed the added testing and 
labeling costs were not submitted by entities that would purportedly 
incur the added costs that would result if the Commission amends the 
Rule to require a wetcleaning instruction. See UCLA Sustainable 
Technology & Policy Program (84); NCA and DLI (124); and Riggs (53).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on this record, the Commission concludes that permitting a 
professional wetcleaning instruction would provide consumers with 
useful information regarding the care of the apparel they purchase. 
Therefore, the Commission proposes adding a definition of ``wetclean'' 
based on the definition of ``professional wet cleaning'' set forth in 
ISO 3758:2005(E). Specifically, proposed section 423.1(h) would state 
that ``wetclean'' means a commercial process for cleaning products or 
specimens in water carried out by professionals using special 
technology (cleaning, rinsing, and spinning), detergents, and additives 
to minimize adverse effects, followed by appropriate drying and 
restorative finishing procedures.
    This definition closely tracks the definition in a widely-used 
international standard cited approvingly in comments. Thus, the 
Commission concludes that the definition would provide manufacturers 
and importers with sufficient guidance to distinguish wetcleaning from 
other cleaning processes, thereby helping them to determine whether 
they have enough evidence to provide a wetcleaning instruction or a 
warning not to wetclean, if they choose to do so. The Commission also 
proposes to amend Appendix A by including this definition as set forth 
in the proposed amendment in the last section of this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking.
    In addition to defining ``wetclean,'' the Commission proposes 
amending section 423.6(b) to add a wetcleaning subsection, as set forth 
in the proposed amendment in the last section of this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking. To harmonize with international standards, the 
proposed subsection states that any wetcleaning instruction must 
indicate whether to use a normal, mild or very mild process and 
disclose fiber content if needed to select the appropriate wetcleaning 
process. These amendments bring the Rule in line with both the ASTM and 
ISO symbol systems, and ISO 3758:2005(E)'s fiber disclosure.
    This proposed amendment would not impose any new obligations on 
manufacturers or importers. They could choose to provide a wetcleaning 
instruction if they have a reasonable basis for it and wish to do so. 
They also could provide a different instruction, such as a drycleaning 
or washing instruction.
    The proposal, however, would require manufacturers and importers 
currently labeling items with a ``dryclean only'' instruction either to 
substantiate that wetcleaning is an inappropriate method of care or to 
revise their labels. Revised labels stating ``dryclean'' would comply 
with the Rule. Manufacturers and importers who wished to convey to 
consumers that home laundering would damage the garment could, if they 
wished, label the garment as ``dryclean/do not home wash,'' but would 
comply with the Rule if they disclosed just the cleaning method (in 
this example, drycleaning) known to produce safe results. Manufacturers 
and importers could continue to use the ``dryclean only'' label only if 
they could substantiate that both home laundering and professional 
wetcleaning were inappropriate methods for cleaning the garment.

B. Use of Care Symbols

    The Rule permits manufacturers and importers to use care symbols 
set forth in ASTM Standard 5489-96c, ``Guide to Care Symbols for Care 
Instructions on Consumer Textile Products.'' Since the Commission last 
amended the Rule in 2000, ASTM has updated this standard to ASTM D5489-
07, ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on Textile 
Products.'' The Rule currently does not permit the use of this updated, 
or any other non-ASTM symbol system in lieu of terms.
    Nearly all of the comments addressing the issue favored allowing 
the use of symbols in lieu of terms. Some favored amending the Rule to 
reference ASTM D5489-07, the most recent version of the ASTM standard, 
or ASTM D5489 without designating the year so that the Rule would 
automatically reference the latest version of the standard. Still 
others favored allowing the use of the symbol system developed by ISO. 
Several urged the Commission to amend the Rule to harmonize the ASTM 
symbols permitted by the Rule with those set forth in the ISO standard 
or to allow manufacturers and importers to use either symbol system. 
None of the comments expressed a preference for the ASTM symbol system 
currently referenced in the Rule. Nor did any of the comments oppose 
the harmonization of the ASTM and ISO symbols.
    The record supports: (1) Continuing to allow the use of ASTM care 
symbols in lieu of terms, (2) updating the Rule to reference the 2007 
version of the ASTM standard, and (3) permitting the use of the ASTM 
and ISO symbols. The Commission concludes that permitting the use of 
the symbol system in either the updated ASTM standard, ASTM D5489-07, 
or ISO 3758:2005(E) would ensure that manufacturers and importers that 
choose to use symbols in lieu of terms will use them consistent

[[Page 58346]]

with the latest industry standards.\148\ It also would provide them 
with the flexibility to use either symbol system, resulting in less 
cluttered labels if manufacturers opt to use one set of symbols.\149\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \148\ Manufacturers would need to purchase and follow only one 
of the two standards to disclose care instructions using symbols, 
thereby reducing compliance costs. E.g., manufacturers already using 
ISO symbols in lieu of written terms would not need to incur the 
expense of adding ASTM symbols or written terms to their labels so 
that they can market their garments in the United States.
    \149\ Both the ASTM and ISO standards are subject to copyrights 
and can be purchased from the organizations that issued them. In 
addition, the ISO symbols are protected by trademarks and their use 
is dependent on a contract with GINETEX. See www.ginetex.net. 
Consumers can find the symbols and explanations of their meaning on 
the Internet, including the ISO symbols on the GINETEX Web site and 
the currently approved ASTM symbols on the FTC Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/1996/12/label.pdf. Consumers can find the 
professional care symbols in the 2007 version of the ASTM standard 
on page three of the GreenEarth comment (mistakenly described as the 
``current FTC Symbol Chart'') located at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/carelabelinganpr/00098-80529.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because the ASTM and ISO symbol systems are not identical, 
consumers may need to know which system appears on the label so that 
they can ascertain or confirm the meaning of a particular symbol. 
Furthermore, permitting the use of two symbol systems could increase 
the risk of consumer confusion. Therefore, the Commission proposes 
requiring that manufacturers or importers opting to disclose care 
instructions using the ISO symbols disclose that they are using ISO 
symbols. The Commission does not propose requiring a similar disclosure 
on labels using the ASTM symbols because the Rule already permits the 
use of ASTM symbols without requiring any such disclosure. For example, 
consumers might have a greater familiarity with the ASTM symbols than 
with the ISO symbols because the Rule started permitting them in 1997. 
On the other hand, that may not be the case. The Commission seeks 
comment on this issue, including on the extent to which care labels 
currently include ASTM and ISO symbols.
    Permitting the use of either symbol system should not confuse or 
deceive consumers because the symbol systems are nearly identical. 
Although the ASTM system includes more symbols than the ISO 
system,\150\ the two systems use virtually identical symbols for 
washing, bleaching, and professional care such as drycleaning and 
wetcleaning. Manufacturers and importers that prefer to use the ISO 
system can supplement the ISO symbols with written instructions as 
appropriate. Both symbol systems lack symbols for certain instructions 
and acknowledge the need to supplement their symbols with written 
instructions as appropriate.\151\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \150\ E.g., the ISO system has fewer symbols for drying. ISO has 
normal and low temperature symbols while ASTM has symbols for any 
heat, high, medium, low, and no heat/air.
    \151\ E.g., both the ASTM and ISO systems list written 
instructions, including ``wash separately'' and ``remove promptly.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although the two systems differ slightly with respect to drying and 
ironing symbols, the differences do not appear substantial. ASTM has 
more symbols for drying, and the ASTM symbol for medium temperature 
drying means normal temperature drying in the ISO system. The ASTM 
system includes a ``no steam'' symbol for ironing while the ISO symbol 
for low heat, unlike the ASTM symbol for low heat, indicates that steam 
ironing may cause irreversible damage. If a manufacturer or importer 
concludes that one of the systems has symbols that more effectively 
convey the proper care instructions, it can choose to use that 
system.\152\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \152\ E.g., if a manufacturer or importer determines that it 
needs to use one of the ASTM drying symbols not available in the ISO 
system to convey drying instructions properly, it can opt to use the 
ASTM symbol system. If both systems have a drying symbol that 
suffices, it can opt to use either system.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Commission notes that the meaning of one ASTM drycleaning 
symbol changed significantly in the revised ASTM standard. The old 
symbol, a circle with the letter ``P'' inside, means dryclean with any 
solvent except perc. Under the revised standard, the symbol means 
dryclean with perc or petroleum. Although potentially confusing, this 
change does not seem likely to harm consumers who understand the 
meaning of the symbol at the time they purchase the product.\153\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \153\ As noted in footnote 149, consumers can find the symbols 
and explanations of their meaning on the Internet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, even if consumers understand the symbol at the time of 
purchase, confusion could result with respect to: (1) Products labeled 
before, but sold after, the symbol system change; and (2) situations 
where the consumer does not remember whether he or she purchased the 
product before or after the symbol change. The change in the symbol's 
meaning could also cause confusion if drycleaners do not know whether 
the garment was labeled before the change. Of course, notwithstanding 
the change in symbol meaning, consumers and drycleaners can avoid any 
risk of using an inappropriate solvent by using petroleum rather than 
perc to dryclean the product (under both the old and new meaning, the 
symbol indicates that petroleum can be used). The Commission seeks 
comment on these issues.
    As explained above, a comment from GreenEarth urged the Commission 
to replace the ASTM and ISO symbols with new symbols based on a 
solvent's aggressiveness rather than type.\154\ GreenEarth did not 
submit any evidence on consumer perception of its proposed symbols or 
establish that any resulting benefits would exceed the cost to 
business.\155\ Moreover, none of the other comments proposed anything 
similar to GreenEarth's proposal. The record, therefore, does not 
indicate that GreenEarth's approach to care instructions would be 
superior to the current one. Moreover, it would represent a significant 
departure from the symbol system currently permitted by the Rule as 
well as from the updated ASTM and ISO symbol systems widely used by 
apparel manufacturers and importers and favored by nearly all of the 
other comments that addressed the use of symbols. Therefore, the 
Commission declines to adopt GreenEarth's proposal.\156\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \154\ GreenEarth's arguments and proposal are summarized in 
Section II.C.
    \155\ GreenEarth argued that its proposal would encourage the 
substitution of less aggressive solvents for more aggressive ones in 
the cleaning process, thereby measurably reducing claims for damaged 
garments. However, it did not address whether its proposal would 
increase the cost of providing care instructions or submit any 
evidence showing that its proposal would actually reduce the use of 
more aggressive solvents.
    \156\ GreenEarth may wish to submit its proposal to ASTM and ISO 
for their consideration if it has not already done so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally, Section 423.8(g) states that, for the 18-month period 
beginning on July 1, 1997, symbols may be used in lieu of terms only if 
an explanation of the symbols is attached to, or provided with, the 
product. This provision has expired; therefore, the Commission proposes 
to remove it from the Rule.
    To implement the revisions described above, the Commission proposes 
amending Section 423.8(g) as set forth in the proposed amendment in the 
last section of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
    One of the comments urged the Commission to update the Rule by 
referring to the ASTM standard without identifying the year or version 
of the standard. The comment argued that, if the Commission amended the 
Rule in this way, the Rule would always incorporate the most recent 
ASTM standard. The Commission declines to follow this approach because 
it would, in effect, grant ASTM the power to revise a Commission Rule. 
If ASTM

[[Page 58347]]

revises the standard, the Commission can consider whether to revise the 
Rule to incorporate the revised standard. Any interested party can 
petition the Commission to amend the Rule at any time, particularly if 
the failure to incorporate the revised standard would have an adverse 
effect on consumers or commerce.\157\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \157\ See 16 CFR 1.9.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Clarification of Reasonable Basis Requirements

    As noted above, the Rule requires that manufacturers and importers 
possess a reasonable basis for the care instructions they provide prior 
to sale. Under the Rule, a reasonable basis must consist of reliable 
evidence supporting the instructions on the label.\158\ Specifically, a 
reasonable basis can consist of: (1) Reliable evidence that the product 
was not harmed when cleaned reasonably often according to the 
instructions; (2) reliable evidence that the product or a fair sample 
of the product was harmed when cleaned by methods warned against on the 
label; (3) reliable evidence, like that described in (1) or (2), for 
each component part of the product in conjunction with reliable 
evidence for the garment as a whole; (4) reliable evidence that the 
product or a fair sample of the product was successfully tested; (5) 
reliable evidence of current technical literature, past experience, or 
industry expertise supporting the care information on the label; or (6) 
other reliable evidence.\159\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \158\ 16 CFR 423.6(c).
    \159\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Several comments summarized in Section II.C above urged the 
Commission to impose more rigorous testing requirements or to clarify 
the Rule's reasonable basis requirements. These comments explained that 
some manufacturers and importers appear not to understand the Rule's 
reasonable basis requirements. No comment provided specific 
suggestions.
    The record is devoid of evidence showing that any manufacturers or 
importers improperly relied on evidence other than testing, that 
particular testing was inadequate or flawed, or that the benefits of 
requiring additional or more rigorous testing to ensure better care 
instructions would exceed the costs to manufacturers and importers. The 
mere assertion that some manufacturers or importers violate the Rule 
does not prove that the Commission needs to amend the Rule. Therefore, 
the Commission declines to propose more rigorous testing requirements.
    However, the comments suggest a need to clarify the Rule's 
reasonable basis requirements to aid compliance without increasing or 
decreasing the burden imposed on industry. Specifically, providing 
examples of situations where testing an entire garment may be needed to 
determine care instructions, as well as examples where such testing is 
not needed, may help clarify the Rule's requirements. Accordingly, the 
Commission proposes to incorporate advice from its business education 
materials and include examples in Section 423.6(c)(3) and (5) as set 
forth in the proposed amendment in the last section of this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking.
    Because the Commission does not intend to impose new requirements 
on manufacturers or importers, it views these proposed revisions as 
non-substantive.\160\ Nonetheless, the Commission seeks comment 
regarding whether these proposed additions would be helpful and whether 
the Commission should provide any additional clarification.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \160\ The Commission also proposes to correct an error in 
Section 423.6(c) by replacing the word ``processing'' with 
``possessing.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Revised Definition of Dryclean

    Several comments urged the Commission to update and expand the 
Rule's definition of ``dryclean'' to include new solvents in the list 
of examples and to cover solvents that are not organically-based. One 
comment noted the introduction of new solvents over the last 25 years, 
such as high flash hydrocarbons, silicones, glycol ethers, carbon 
dioxide, and aldehydes. It also explained that one solvent listed in 
the definition, fluorocarbon, is no longer used, and that not all 
solvents are organically-based. Additionally, several comments argued 
that the definition discourages the use of solvents not recognized by 
the Rule and, therefore, risks curtailing technological advancement.
    The record shows that the Commission needs to modernize the Rule's 
definition of ``dryclean.'' Although the definition technically 
includes all common organic solvents, it only lists three examples, one 
of which is no longer used. To address the concerns raised by comments, 
the Commission proposes to broaden the definition to cover any solvent 
excluding water. In addition, the Commission proposes to drop the 
reference to fluorocarbon and add new solvents identified in the record 
to the list of examples. The Commission does not propose to delete 
perchloroethylene from the list because drycleaners continue to use it 
and may do so at least until California's ban takes effect in 2023. 
Accordingly, the Commission proposes amending Section 423.1(c) as set 
forth in the proposed amendment in the last section of this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking.
    The Commission also proposes to amend Appendix A.7.a in the same 
way and to amend Appendix 7.c to include the solvent examples from the 
revised definition.

V. Other Amendments the Commission Declines To Propose

    A number of comments proposed amendments to the Rule other than 
those discussed above. Some suggested that the Commission require 
manufacturers and importers to disclose all appropriate care 
procedures. Others proposed requiring additional disclosures, 
disallowing certain care instructions, addressing the format or 
composition of labels, expanding the scope of the Rule, or imposing 
additional requirements such as making manufacturers or importers 
accountable to consumers if they provide inaccurate care instructions. 
One commenter proposed changing the ``overarching nomenclature and the 
guiding principle'' behind the Rule to improve the reliability and 
understandability of care labels. The Commission declines to propose 
any of these amendments for the reasons explained below. Additionally, 
the comments did not suggest amending the Rule to address the 
presentation of instructions in multiple languages, and the Commission 
declines to propose any amendments addressing this issue.
    Several comments from the cleaning industry urged the Commission to 
require manufacturers and importers to disclose all appropriate methods 
of care. None of the comments from other affected industries supported 
this proposal. The Commission issued the Rule to protect consumers from 
unfair and deceptive trade practices. In issuing the Rule, the 
Commission determined, based on the record in the proceeding, that it 
was unfair or deceptive for manufacturers and importers to fail to 
disclose a regular care procedure necessary for the ordinary use and 
enjoyment of the product (or to warn the consumer that the product 
cannot be cleaned without being harmed). It did not conclude that 
manufacturers and importers must disclose multiple care procedures. 
None of the comments included evidence demonstrating that the failure 
to disclose all appropriate care methods would result in deception or 
unfairness under the FTC Act. Nor did they submit evidence that the 
benefits of requiring such a disclosure

[[Page 58348]]

would exceed the costs such a requirement would impose on manufacturers 
and retailers. The Commission, therefore, has no reason to believe that 
it is either unfair or deceptive for a manufacturer or importer to fail 
to disclose all appropriate methods of care.
    Similarly, the other comments proposing that the Commission impose 
additional disclosure or other obligations on manufacturers and 
importers, summarized in Section II.F above, failed to show that 
imposing these obligations is necessary to prevent deception or 
unfairness. Nor did they show that the benefits of the proposals would 
exceed their costs. Thus, the Commission declines to propose any of 
these amendments.
    Some comments urged the Commission to require manufacturers and 
importers to disclose fiber content on care labels even though the 
Commission's Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products 
Identification Act (``Textile Rules'') already require disclosure of 
fiber content.\161\ The comments did not provide evidence addressing 
the need for this amendment or the costs it would impose. While it is 
true that the Textile Rules do not require this disclosure in a form 
that can be referred to by the consumer throughout the useful life of 
the product, the Commission has anecdotal evidence that some 
manufacturers and importers often include the fiber content disclosure 
required by the Textile Rules on the same ``permanent'' label that 
provides care instructions. In addition, as explained above, the 
Commission proposes to require that any wetcleaning instruction 
disclose fiber content if needed to select the appropriate wetcleaning 
process. The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which care 
labels already disclose fiber content and the need for fiber content 
information on ``permanent'' labels but, at this time, declines to 
propose amending the Rule to address this issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \161\ 16 CFR part 303.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    GreenEarth proposed changing the ``overarching nomenclature and the 
guiding principle'' behind the Rule to improve the reliability and 
understandability of care labels (e.g., by replacing instructions such 
as ``dryclean'' and ``do not dryclean'' with simplified categories of 
``cleaning method'' and ``cycle'').\162\ GreenEarth, however, did not 
submit any evidence on consumer perception of its proposed nomenclature 
for care instructions or whether the benefits of replacing the Rule's 
existing nomenclature and guiding principles would exceed the cost to 
business.\163\ None of the other comments made similar proposals or 
addressed GreenEarth's proposal. The record does not establish that 
GreenEarth's approach would be superior to the current one. In 
addition, it would represent a significant departure from the Rule's 
longstanding approach to and industry practice for providing care 
instructions. The Commission, therefore, declines to propose amending 
the Rule as proposed by GreenEarth.\164\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \162\ See discussion of GreenEarth's comment in Section II.B.
    \163\ GreenEarth argued that its proposal would encourage the 
substitution of less aggressive solvents for more aggressive ones in 
the cleaning process, thereby measurably reducing claims for damaged 
garments. However, it did not address whether its proposal would 
increase the cost of providing care instructions, or submit any 
evidence showing that its proposal would actually reduce the use of 
more aggressive solvents.
    \164\ The Commission rejects GreenEarth's proposal regarding 
care symbols for similar reasons. See discussion in Section IV.B.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally, the ANPR sought comments on whether the Commission should 
amend the Rule to address care instructions in multiple languages. None 
of the comments proposed amending the Rule to address the format for 
presenting instructions in more than one language, although two 
comments noted that using or harmonizing symbols would address problems 
stemming from disclosures in multiple languages. Because none of the 
comments proposed any amendments directly addressing the presentation 
of multiple languages on care labels, the Commission declines to 
propose any amendments on this issue. The Commission, however, seeks 
additional comment on whether any of the proposed amendments to the 
Rule affect the need to address this issue.

VI. Request for Comments

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to 
consider your comment, we must receive it on or before November 16, 
2012. Write ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Project No. 
R511915'' on your comment. Your comment--including your name and your 
state--will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, 
including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web 
site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of 
discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact 
information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web 
site.
    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely 
responsible for making sure that your comment doesn't include any 
sensitive personal information, such as anyone's Social Security 
number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state 
identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, 
financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also 
solely responsible for making sure that your comment doesn't include 
any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other 
individually identifiable health information. In addition, don't 
include any `[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information 
which is obtained from any person and which is privileged or 
confidential,'' as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 
46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, don't 
include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales 
statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing 
processes, or customer names.
    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential 
treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for 
confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained 
in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).\165\ Your comment will be kept 
confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole 
discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the 
public interest.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \165\ In particular, the written request for confidential 
treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and 
legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions 
of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 
4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit 
your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your 
online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/
ftc/CareLabelingNPRM, by following the instruction on the web-based 
form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you 
also may file a comment through that Web site.
    If you file your comment on paper, write ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 
CFR Part 423, Project No. R511915'' on your comment and on the 
envelope, and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal 
Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex B), 600 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your 
paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

[[Page 58349]]

    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this 
NPRM and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws 
that the Commission administers permit the collection of public 
comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The 
Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that 
it receives on or before November 16, 2012. You can find more 
information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in 
the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.
    The Commission invites members of the public to comment on any 
issues or concerns they believe are relevant or appropriate to the 
Commission's consideration of proposed amendments to the Care Labeling 
Rule. The Commission requests that comments provide factual data upon 
which they are based. In addition to the issues raised above, the 
Commission solicits public comment on the costs and benefits to 
industry members and consumers of each of the proposals as well as the 
specific questions identified below. These questions are designed to 
assist the public and should not be construed as a limitation on the 
issues on which public comment may be submitted.

Questions

    1. Is there empirical evidence regarding whether consumers 
interpret a ``dryclean'' instruction to mean that a garment cannot be 
washed? If so, please submit such evidence.
    2. How many domestic businesses provide professional wetcleaning to 
the public on a regular basis? To what extent do domestic businesses 
provide both drycleaning and wetcleaning? What evidence supports your 
answers?
    3. To what extent do consumers have access to and use professional 
wetcleaning services? To what extent are wetcleaning services widely 
available geographically? What evidence supports your answers?
    4. To what extent are consumers aware of the attributes and 
availability of professional wetcleaning services? What evidence 
supports your answer?
    5. Assuming the Commission amends the Rule to permit a wetcleaning 
instruction, should the Commission also amend Section 423.8(d) of the 
Rule, which exempts products that can be cleaned safely under the 
harshest procedures from the requirement of a permanent care label? If 
so, how? What evidence supports your answer? For example, should the 
Commission amend this section to add professional wetcleaning to the 
list of procedures that safely can be used for a product to fall under 
this exemption?
    6. To what extent do drycleaners use solvents other than petroleum 
and perc? To what extent do they use each of these drycleaning 
solvents? How do these other solvents compare to perc with respect to 
performance and environmental effects? To what extent do they use 
multiple solvents? What evidence supports your answers?
    7. To what extent do manufactures and importers disclose fiber 
content information on labels providing care instructions? What 
evidence supports your answer?
    8. To what extent do manufacturers and importers use care symbols 
to provide care instructions for garments and piece goods sold in the 
United States? To what extent do they use symbols alone? To what extent 
do they use symbols in conjunction with written instructions? To what 
extent do they use ASTM symbols without using ISO symbols, ISO symbols 
without using ASTM symbols, or both ASTM and ISO symbols? What evidence 
supports your answer?
    9. Is there empirical evidence regarding the extent to which 
consumers understand or rely on care symbols or find labels using 
multiple symbol systems, such as both the ASTM and ISO symbol systems, 
confusing? If so, please submit such evidence.
    10. The meaning of one drycleaning symbol in the ASTM symbol system 
currently permitted by the Rule, a circle with the letter ``P'' inside, 
changed significantly in the revised ASTM symbol system. The currently 
permitted symbol means dryclean with any solvent except perc. In 
contrast, the symbol under the revised system means dryclean with perc 
or petroleum. Should the Commission amend the Rule to address this 
issue? If so, how? What evidence supports your answer?
    11. Do the proposed amendments to the Rule's reasonable basis 
provisions clarify them adequately? Is any additional clarification 
needed? If so, what? If not, why not? What evidence supports your 
answers?
    12. The record did not establish a need to amend the Rule to 
address care labels in multiple languages. Do any of the proposed 
amendments to the Rule affect the need to address this issue? If so, 
how? What evidence supports your answer?
    13. Would the following amendments impose costs or confer benefits 
on consumers? Would they impose costs or confer benefits on apparel and 
piece good manufacturers and importers, especially small businesses? 
Would they impose costs or confer benefits on businesses that clean 
apparel, especially small businesses? Would they impose costs or confer 
benefits on businesses that sell apparel or piece goods to consumers, 
especially small businesses? If so, how? If not, why not? What evidence 
supports your answers?
    (A) Amending the Rule to permit manufacturers and importers to 
provide a professional wetcleaning instruction for garments or piece 
goods that can be professionally wetcleaned;
    (B) Amending the Rule to update the provision allowing the use of 
certain care symbols in lieu of written terms by permitting 
manufacturers and importers to use the symbol system set forth in 
either 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'';
    (C) Amending the Rule to clarify the Rule's reasonable basis 
requirements; and
    (D) Amending the Rule's definition of ``dryclean.''
    14. General Questions: To maximize the benefits and minimize the 
costs for buyers and sellers (including specifically small businesses), 
the Commission seeks views and data on the following general questions 
for all the proposed changes described in this document:
    (A) What benefits would the proposed changes confer, and on whom?
    (B) What costs or burdens would the proposed changes impose, and on 
whom?
    (C) What regulatory alternatives to the proposed changes are 
available that would reduce the burdens of the proposed changes while 
providing the same benefits?

VII. Communications to Commissioners and Commissioner Advisors by 
Outside Parties

    Pursuant to Commission Rule 1.18(c)(1), the Commission has 
determined that communications with respect to the merits of this 
proceeding from any outside party to any Commissioner or Commissioner 
advisor shall be subject to the following treatment. Written 
communications and summaries or transcripts of oral communications 
shall be placed on the rulemaking record if the communication is 
received before the end of the comment period on the staff report. They 
shall be placed on the public record if the communication is received 
later. Unless the outside party making an oral communication is a 
member of Congress, such communications are permitted only if advance 
notice is

[[Page 58350]]

published in the Weekly Calendar and Notice of ``Sunshine'' 
Meetings.\166\
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    \166\  See 15 U.S.C. 57a(i)(2)(A); 16 CFR 1.18(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VIII. Preliminary Regulatory Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Act 
Requirements

    Under Section 22 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 57b, the Commission must 
issue a preliminary regulatory analysis for a proceeding to amend a 
rule only when it: (1) Estimates that the amendment will have an annual 
effect on the national economy of $100 million or more; (2) estimates 
that the amendment will cause a substantial change in the cost or price 
of certain categories of goods or services; or (3) otherwise determines 
that the amendment will have a significant effect upon covered entities 
or upon consumers. The Commission has preliminarily determined that the 
proposed amendments will not have such effects on the national economy; 
on the cost of labeling apparel and piece goods; or on covered parties 
or consumers.
    The proposed amendments provide manufacturers and importers with 
additional options for disclosing care instructions, clarify the Rule, 
and update the definition of ``dryclean'' to reflect current practices 
and technology, so the proposed amendments would not require 
manufacturers or importers to alter their behavior and would not impose 
additional costs on them. The Commission, however, requests comment on 
the economic effects of the proposed amendments.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (``RFA''), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, 
requires that the Commission conduct an analysis of the anticipated 
economic impact of the proposed amendments on small entities. The 
purpose of a regulatory flexibility analysis is to ensure that an 
agency considers the impacts on small entities and examines regulatory 
alternatives that could achieve the regulatory purpose while minimizing 
burdens on small entities. Section 605 of the RFA, 5 U.S.C. 605, 
provides that such an analysis is not required if the agency head 
certifies that the regulatory action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
Commission believes that the proposed amendments would not have a 
significant economic impact upon small entities, although it may affect 
a substantial number of small businesses. Specifically, the Commission 
proposes a few limited amendments designed to provide manufacturers and 
importers with more options for disclosing care instructions, clarify 
the Rule, and update the definition of ``dryclean.'' In the 
Commission's view, the proposed amendments should not have a 
significant or disproportionate impact on the costs of small entities 
that manufacture or import apparel or piece goods. Therefore, based on 
available information, the Commission certifies that amending the Rule 
as proposed will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small businesses.
    Although the Commission certifies under the RFA that the proposed 
amendments would not, if promulgated, have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, the Commission has determined, 
nonetheless, that it is appropriate to publish an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis to inquire into the impact of the proposed 
amendments on small entities. Therefore, the Commission has prepared 
the following analysis:

A. Description of the Reasons That Action by the Agency is Being Taken

    In response to public comments, the Commission proposes amending 
the Rule to respond to the development of new technologies, changed 
commercial practices, and updated industry standards.

B. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed 
Amendments

    The objective of the proposed amendments is to provide 
manufacturers and importers of apparel and certain piece goods with 
additional options for disclosing care instructions, clarify the Rule's 
reasonable basis provisions, and update the definition of ``dryclean'' 
to reflect current practices and technology. The Commission promulgated 
the Rule pursuant to Section 18 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 57a. As noted 
earlier, the Commission has wide latitude in fashioning a remedy and 
need only show a ``reasonable relationship'' between the unfair or 
deceptive act at issue and the remedy.\167\ The Rule as modified by the 
proposed amendments would reasonably relate to the practices that led 
the Commission to promulgate the Rule. It would provide covered 
entities with additional options for complying with the Rule's 
disclosure requirements without imposing new burdens or additional 
costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \167\ American Fin. Servs. Ass'n v. FTC, 767 F.2d 957, 988 (D.C. 
Cir. 1985) (quoting Jacob Siegel Co. v. FTC, 327 U.S. 608, 612-13 
(1946)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Small Entities to Which the Proposed Amendments Will Apply

    Under the Small Business Size Standards issued by the Small 
Business Administration, textile apparel and some fabric manufacturers 
qualify as small businesses if they have 500 or fewer employees. 
Clothing and piece good wholesalers qualify as small businesses if they 
have 100 or fewer employees. The Commission's staff has estimated that 
approximately 22,218 manufacturers or importers of textile apparel are 
covered by the Rule's disclosure requirements.\168\ A substantial 
number of these entities likely qualify as small businesses. The 
Commission estimates that the proposed amendments will not have a 
significant impact on small businesses because it does not impose any 
new obligations on them. The Commission seeks comment and information 
with regard to the estimated number or nature of small business 
entities for which the proposed amendments would have a significant 
impact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \168\ Federal Trade Commission: Agency Information Collection 
Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request, 76 FR 77230 (Dec. 
12, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements, Including Classes of Covered Small Entities and 
Professional Skills Needed to Comply

    As explained earlier in this document, the proposed amendments will 
provide apparel manufacturers and importers with additional options for 
disclosing care instructions, clarify the Rule's reasonable basis 
requirements, and update the definition of ``dryclean'' to reflect 
current practices and technology. The small entities potentially 
covered by these proposed amendments will include all such entities 
subject to the Rule. The professional skills necessary for compliance 
with the Rule as modified by the proposed amendments would include 
office and administrative support supervisors to determine label 
content and clerical personnel to draft and obtain labels. The 
Commission invites comment and information on these issues.

E. Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    The Commission has not identified any other federal statutes, 
rules, or policies that would duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the 
proposed amendments. The Commission invites comment and information on 
this issue.

[[Page 58351]]

F. Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Amendments

    The Commission has not proposed any specific small entity exemption 
or other significant alternatives, as the proposed amendments simply 
provide additional options for disclosing care instructions, clarify 
the Rule's reasonable basis provisions, and update the definition of 
``dryclean'' to reflect current practices and technology. Under these 
limited circumstances, the Commission does not believe a special 
exemption for small entities or significant compliance alternatives are 
necessary or appropriate to minimize the compliance burden, if any, on 
small entities while achieving the intended purposes of the proposed 
amendments. Nonetheless, the Commission seeks comment and information 
on the need, if any, for alternative compliance methods that would 
reduce the economic impact of the Rule on small entities. If the 
comments filed in response to this NPRM identify small entities that 
would be affected by the proposed amendments, as well as alternative 
methods of compliance that would reduce the economic impact of the 
proposed amendments on such entities, the Commission will consider the 
feasibility of such alternatives and determine whether they should be 
incorporated into the final Rule. As explained above, the Commission 
considered a number of alternative amendments advocated by commenters 
and decided not to propose any of them.

IX. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Rule contains various ``collection of information'' (e.g., 
disclosure) requirements for which the Commission has obtained OMB 
clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act (``PRA''), 44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.\169\ As discussed above, the Commission proposes amendments to: 
(a) Clarify the Rule; (b) update the definition of ``dryclean'' to 
reflect current technology and practices; and (c) provide manufacturers 
and importers with added options for disclosing care instructions. 
These proposed amendments do not impose any additional collection of 
information requirements. For example, businesses that prefer not to 
provide a wetcleaning instruction or use symbols need not do so. 
Depending on the disclosure option selected for disclosing care 
instructions, the associated PRA burden might even be reduced.
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    \169\ The Commission recently published its PRA burden estimates 
for the current information collection requirements under the Rule. 
See Federal Trade Commission: Agency Information Collection 
Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request, 76 FR 77230 (Dec. 
12, 2011) and Federal Trade Commission: Agency Information 
Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request, 
77 FR 10744 (Feb. 23, 2012). On March 26, 2012, OMB granted 
clearance through March 31, 2015, for these requirements and the 
associated PRA burden estimates. The OMB control number is 3084-
0103.
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List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 423

    Clothing, Labeling, Textiles, Trade practices.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Commission proposes to 
amend 16 CFR part 423 as follows:

PART 423--CARE LABELING OF TEXTILE WEARING APPAREL AND CERTAIN 
PIECE GOODS

    1. The authority citation for part 423 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 57a.

    2. Revise the heading of part 423 to read as set forth above.
    3. Amend Sec.  423.1 by revising paragraph (c) and adding paragraph 
(h) to read as follows:


Sec.  423.1  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (c) Dryclean means a commercial process by which soil is removed 
from products or specimens in a machine which uses any solvent 
excluding water (e.g., petroleum, perchloroethylene, silicone, glycol 
ether, carbon dioxide, or aldehyde). The process also may involve 
adding moisture to the solvent, up to 75% relative humidity, hot tumble 
drying up to 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and restoration by steam 
press or steam-air finishing.
* * * * *
    (h) Wetclean means a commercial process for cleaning products or 
specimens in water carried out by professionals using special 
technology (cleaning, rinsing, and spinning), detergents, and additives 
to minimize adverse effects, followed by appropriate drying and 
restorative finishing procedures.
    4. Amend Sec.  423.6 by revising paragraph (b) introductory text, 
adding paragraph (b)(3), and revising paragraphs (c) introductory text, 
(c)(3), and (c)(5) to read as follows:


Sec.  423.6  Textile wearing apparel.

* * * * *
    (b) Care labels must state what regular care is needed for the 
ordinary use of the product. In general, labels for textile wearing 
apparel must have either a washing instruction, a drycleaning 
instruction, or a wetcleaning instruction. If a washing instruction is 
included, it must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section. If a drycleaning instruction is included, it 
must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this 
section. If a wetcleaning instruction is included, it must comply with 
the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. If 
washing, drycleaning, or wetcleaning can be used, the label need have 
only one of these instructions. If the product cannot be cleaned by any 
available cleaning method without being harmed, the label must so 
state. [For example, if a product would be harmed by washing, 
drycleaning, and wetcleaning, the label might say, ``Do not wash--do 
not dryclean or wetclean,'' or ``Cannot be successfully cleaned.''] The 
instructions for washing, drycleaning, and wetcleaning are as follows:
* * * * *
    (3) Wetcleaning--(i) General. If a wetcleaning instruction is 
included on the label, and a mild or very mild process should be used, 
the label must state the process that must be used. If a normal process 
will not harm the product, the label need not mention any type of 
process. If the product's fiber content is needed to determine how to 
select the appropriate wetcleaning process, the label must state the 
fiber content.
    (ii) Warnings. (A) If there is any part of the wetcleaning 
procedure which consumers or wetcleaners reasonably can be expected to 
use that would harm the product or others being cleaned with it, the 
label must contain a warning to this effect. The warning must use the 
words ``Do not,'' ``No,'' ``Only,'' or some other clear wording.
    (B) Warnings are not necessary for any procedure which is an 
alternative to the procedure prescribed on the label. [For example, if 
an instruction states ``Professionally wetclean, very mild process,'' 
it is not necessary to give the warning ``Do not use normal process.'']
    (c) A manufacturer or importer must establish a reasonable basis 
for care information by possessing prior to sale:
* * * * *
    (3) Reliable evidence, like that described in paragraph (c)(1) or 
(2) of this section, for each component part of the product in 
conjunction with reliable evidence for the garment as a whole; provided 
that test results showing that a whole garment can be cleaned as 
recommended may be required where, for example:
    (i) The color of one part often bleeds onto another when the 
finished garment is washed;
    (ii) A dye that is known to bleed, or beads, buttons, or sequins 
that are known to be damaged often in drycleaning are used; or

[[Page 58352]]

    (iii) A garment contains several fibers, fabrics, or components not 
previously used together; or
* * * * *
    (5) Reliable evidence of current technical literature, past 
experience, or industry expertise supporting the care information on 
the label [For example, if past experience with particular dyes and 
fabrics indicates that a particular red trim does not bleed onto 
surrounding fabric, testing the entire garment might not be necessary]; 
or
* * * * *
    5. Amend Sec.  423.8 by revising paragraph (g) as follows:


Sec.  423.8  Exemptions.

* * * * *
    (g) The symbol systems developed by ASTM International (ASTM) and 
designated as ASTM D5489-07, ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care 
Instructions on Textile Products'' and by the International 
Organization for Standardization (ISO) and designated as 3758:2005(E), 
``Textiles--Care labelling code using symbols,'' may be used on care 
labels or care instructions in lieu of terms so long as the symbols 
fulfill the requirements of this part. If the ISO symbols are used, the 
label should disclose this fact. In addition, symbols from either one 
of the two symbol systems above may be combined with terms so long as 
the symbols and terms used fulfill the requirements of this part. This 
incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal 
Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies 
of ASTM D5489-07, ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care 
Instructions on Textile Products,'' may be obtained from ASTM, 100 Barr 
Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428. Copies of ISO 3758:2005(E), 
``Textiles--Care labelling code using symbols,'' may be obtained from 
American National Standards Institute, 11 West 42nd Street, 13th Floor, 
New York, NY 10036. Both ASTM D5489-07 and ISO 3758:2005(E) may be 
inspected at the Federal Trade Commission, room 130, 600 Pennsylvania 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC or at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
* * * * *
    6. Amend Appendix A by revising paragraph 7.a and c, and by adding 
a new paragraph 9.a, to read as follows:

Appendix A to Part 423--Glossary of Standard Terms

* * * * *
    7. Drycleaning; All Procedures:
    a. ``Dryclean''--a commercial process by which soil is removed 
from products or specimens in a machine which uses any solvent 
excluding water (e.g., petroleum, perchloroethylene, silicone, 
glycol ether, carbon dioxide, or aldehyde). The process also may 
involve adding moisture to the solvent, up to 75% relative humidity, 
hot tumble drying up to 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and restoration 
by steam press or steam-air finishing.
* * * * *
    c. ``Petroleum,'' ``Perchloroethylene,'' ``Silicone,'' ``Glycol 
Ether,'' ``Carbon Dioxide,'' or ``Aldehyde''--employ solvent(s) 
specified to dryclean the item.
* * * * *
    9. Professional Wetcleaning:
    a. ``Wetclean''--a commercial process for cleaning products or 
specimens in water carried out by professionals using special 
technology (cleaning, rinsing, and spinning), detergents, and 
additives to minimize adverse effects, followed by appropriate 
drying and restorative finishing procedures.


    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-22746 Filed 9-19-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P