The Federal Trade Commission has eliminated its Dry Cell Battery Rule, concluding that because the industry is voluntarily complying with the requirements of the American National Standards Institute ("ANSI") standard that governs dry cell batteries, the FTC's rule is no longer necessary or in the public interest. This action is part of the FTC's ongoing effort to review its guidelines and rules, and to eliminate those that are obsolete or duplicative. A notice announcing repeal of the Dry Cell Battery Rule will appear in today's Federal Register.
The Dry Cell Battery Rule, promulgated in 1964, prohibits the use of the word "leakproof," the term "guaranteed leakproof," or any other word or term of similar import, or any abbreviation thereof, in advertising, labeling, marking or otherwise, as descriptive of dry cell batteries. Dry cell batteries provide the electrical energy for consumer products like flashlights, toys, and cameras. The rule provides that manufacturers or marketers are not prohibited from offering or furnishing guarantees that provide for restitution in the event of damage from battery leakage, provided no direct or indirect representation is made that dry cell batteries will not leak.
In March 1997, the Commission published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stating that it had tentatively determined that the Dry Cell Battery Rule was no longer necessary and sought comments on the proposed repeal of the rule. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association -- a trade association that represents all major U.S. manufacturers of dry cell batteries -- submitted the only comment, supporting repeal of the rule. On August 19, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) initiating a proceeding to consider whether the Dry Cell Battery Rule should be repealed or remain in effect. The NPR comment period closed on September 18, and the Commission did not receive any comments or requests to hold an informal hearing.
The ANSI standard, which the Commission determined has obviated the need for a separate FTC rule, contains specifications for dry cell batteries, and requirements for labeling the products and their packages. For example, in accordance with the ANSI standard, each dry cell battery and package informs and cautions consumers that the batteries may explode or leak if recharged, inserted improperly, disposed of in fire, or mixed with different battery types.
The Commission vote to repeal the Dry Cell Battery Rule was 4-0.
Copies of the Federal Register notice 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
(FTC Matter No. P974226)