Consumers may soon see a new name on the fiber content labels of certain items of clothing, such as swim suits, cycling pants and ski pants. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed to allow U.S. manufacturers and other marketers to use the new designated name for a fiber that purportedly has stretching properties similar to spandex, but is composed of polyester and polyether segments, giving it chemically different characteristics. The FTC is seeking comments on the proposal, which it announced in response to a petition filed by Teijin Limited, a Osaka, Japan-based company that manufacturers the new fiber under the trade name "REXE."
The FTC is publishing a notice in the July 9 Federal Register seeking public comment on whether to amend its rule to include a new generic name and definition covering Teijin's fiber. Comments will be accepted for 60 days, until Sept. 6.
Federal law, the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, requires manufacturers to use the generic names of fibers contained in their textile products in the fiber content labels of those products. The FTC rules and regulations under this statute set out the process a manufacturer must go through to establish a new generic fiber name. In October 1992, Teijin petitioned the FTC to add a fiber name and definition to the list of approved generic names established by Rule 7 of the Textile Act maintaining, among other things, that the new fiber was in active commercial use in the United States, and that the new fiber does not fall within any existing established generic fiber category. As an interim response, in December of that year, the Commission granted Teijin a temporary designation -- "TL 0001" -- for use in marketing its REXE fiber. Thereafter, Teijin performed various tests and submitted the results to the FTC, which now is proposing the change to FTC rules. The temporary designation is effective until the Commission can make a final determination as to the company's request that a new generic name and definition should be given to the fiber.
Teijin proposed in its application that the fiber at issue be given the generic name "Polyetherester," "Elastoester," or "Estelast." The FTC also included a proposed definition for the new fiber. The proposal contemplates an amendment to FTC rules and regulations under the Textile Act, with respect to the generic names and definitions that manufacturers can use in labeling textile fiber products.
The Commission vote on the proposal was 5-0. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. They should be identified as "Rule 7 Under the Textile Act -- Comment," and addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the Federal Register notice, Teijin's 1992 petition and related materials, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 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
(FTC Matter No. P968405)