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The Federal Trade Commission will allow clothing manufacturers and other marketers to use the name “lyocell” in the fiber content labels they are required by law to place in garments and other textile products sold in the United States. Although substantially similar in chemical composition to rayon, which must be dry-cleaned, lyocell is washable and is more resistant to shrinkage and wrinkling. The FTC also noted that other countries and international standards organizations allow use of the name lyocell.

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 definitions of the various names that can be used, as well as the process a manufacturer must go through to establish a new generic fiber name. Courtaulds Fibers, Inc. petitioned the FTC in January 1992 to add lyocell to the list of approved generic fiber names. In April 1992, the FTC issued a temporary designation which allowed Courtaulds to market the fiber without calling it “rayon.” Courtaulds subsequently performed various tests, submitted the results to the FTC, and in November 1995 the FTC published a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the petition. All 27 comments received by the Commission, many of which were from industry members, supported the petition. Today, the Commission announced that it has formally amended the textile rules to add lyocell as a subclass of rayon.

Courtaulds is based in Axis, Alabama, and markets the new fiber under the trade name “Tencel.” The Commission vote to amend the Textile Act rules was 5-0.

Copies of the Federal Register notice and other documents associated with this matter 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 news as it is announced, call the FTC 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:

(FTC Matter No. P928401)

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