Thursday, July 12, 2012

FTC May Allow "Lyocell" For Washable Rayon (1995)

For Release: November 20, 1995

You soon may see the name "lyocell" in the fiber content labels of some of the clothes you purchase. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed to allow clothing manufacturers to use the new name for a fiber that, although substantially the same as "rayon" in terms of chemical composition, has significantly different characteristics. For example, lyocell is said to be washable, whereas rayon must be dry-cleaned. The FTC is seeking comments on the proposal, which it announced in response to a petition filed by Courtaulds Fibers, Inc., a manufacturer of lyocell based in Axis, Alabama, that markets the new fiber under the trade name "Tencel." The FTC proposal to allow the use of the term lyocell is consistent with the requirements of many other countries and international standards organizations.

According to an FTC notice to be published shortly in the Federal Register, garments made from lyocell are "highly resistant to shrinkage and wrinkling...," and therefore can be machine washed. These unique physical and performance characteristics are due to a special manufacturing process, the notice states. Under the proposal announced today, the FTC would permit manufacturers to use lyocell as an alternative to the generic name rayon for cellulose-based fibers manufactured under this process.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. Under the proposed amendment, because of their chemical similarity, lyocell would be a subclass of rayon, rather than a whole new category.

Courtaulds had petitioned the FTC in January 1992 to add lyocell to the list of approved generic names, maintaining among other things that the fiber was in active commercial use in Europe under that generic name. As an interim response, in April of that year, the FTC granted the company a temporary designation to market the fiber. Thereafter, Courtaulds performed various tests and submitted the results to the FTC, which now is proposing the change to FTC rules.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(d) Under the Textile Act -- Comment," and addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

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