In continuing to streamline its oversight of industry activities, the FTC today announced that it has eliminated six outdated trade regulation rules. With this action, the Commission has rescinded a total of seven rules, eight guides, and several general policy statements during 1995.
"It is time to trim away what is unnecessary to ensure effective free market competition," said FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. "By keeping its enforcement tools up-to-date, the FTC can be more focused on targeting fraud and other conduct that injures consumers in today's markets."
According to Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, regulatory review is an ongoing process. "Very often the issues addressed by regulatory efforts in the past are no longer problems," Bernstein said. "As a result, rules and guides should be re-evaluated and simplified or eliminated where appropriate." During the last four years, the Commission has initiated reviews of more than 50 percent of the rules and guides it has issued under the FTC Act.
Today's actions eliminated the following rules:
- The Quick-Freeze Spray Rule: This rule required a clear and conspicuous warning that misuse of aerosol spray products used for frosting beverage glasses could cause death or injury. The Commission determined that the products covered by this rule are no longer on the market because the active ingredient in quick-freeze aerosol sprays, Fluorocarbon 12, was banned by the Clean Air Act in January 1994.
- The Fiberglass Curtain Rule: The rule required disclosure that skin irritation could result from handling fiberglass curtains, fiberglass curtain fabric, or articles that had been washed with them or in the same container. The Commission determined that the rule is obsolete because polyester and other fibers have replaced the use of fiberglass in curtains for consumer use.
- The Binocular Rule: This rule required a clear and conspicuous disclosure in any advertising and on packaging for non-prismatic or partially prismatic binoculars that the instruments were not fully prismatic. The Commission determined that this rule was unnecessary because of technological advances; nearly all binoculars sold today are fully prismatic.
- Sleeping Bag/Tablecloth/Extension Ladder Rules: These rules governed how the dimensions of these items should be described to consumers in advertising, labeling and markings on the products. The Commission determined that state and local regulations or private industry standards have obviated the need for these rules.
The Commission votes to rescind the six rules were 5-0.
A notice announcing the repeal of the Fiberglass Curtain; Binocular; and Sleeping Bag/Tablecloth/Extension Ladder Rules was published in the Dec. 20, 1995 Federal Register. The Quick- Freeze Spray Rule will be published in the Dec. 21 Federal Register. The repeal of the rules become effective when published.
Copies of the Federal Register notices announcing the proposed repeal, as well as the "Report of the FTC on the Regulatory Reinvention Initiative," are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202- 326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov