Regulatory Reform Update for August 19, 1997

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The Federal Trade Commission has begun efforts to repeal the Dry Cell Battery Rule, and is seeking public comment on the proposed repeal for 30 days, until September 18. The FTC is conducting a review of the rule as part of an overall effort to update its regulations and guides and eliminate those that are no longer necessary or useful.

Promulgated in 1964, the Dry Cell Battery Rule prohibits representations that dry cell batteries will not leak. In January 1997, the Commission conducted an informal review of industry practices by examining the advertising, labeling and marking of dry cell batteries available for resale. The Commission did not find any batteries described as leakproof, indicating that the industry was complying with the rule's provisions. The Commission also found that there was general compliance by the industry with the requirements of an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard that contains specifications for dry cell batteries, as well as requirements for labeling these products and their packaging. In addition to other information, the ANSI standard requires warnings or cautionary notes to be printed on the outside of each battery and the battery package informing consumers that dry cell batteries may leak if abused or misused.

The FTC tentatively proposed to repeal the Dry Cell Battery Rule on the basis that an informal review of industry practices found no rule violations, and the agency has received no complaints from the public or taken any law enforcement actions alleging violations. On March 25, the Commission published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register and sought public comments. The only comment received, which favored repeal, was from a trade association representing all major U.S. manufacturers of dry cell batteries. Therefore, the Commission is now taking the next step in the rule repeal process, which is to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to repeal the rule, and that notice appears in today's Federal Register.

Comments on the proposed repeal should be identified as "16 CFR Part 403 Comment - Dry Cell Battery Rule" and addressed to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. If any parties wish to testify, they should specify that request and the Commission can hold hearings.

The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notice was 5-0.

Copies of the Federal Register notice and other documents associated with this rule 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:

(Matter No.: P974226)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Howard Shapiro or Brenda A. Mack
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2176 or 202-326-2182
Staff Contact:

Bureau of Consumer Protection
Neil Blickman, 202-326-3038