At a recent webinar on textiles compliance, Stacey Bowers, MILS, Manager of Compliance & Risks’ Global Market Access service, outlined the full range of topics that people who are responsible for textiles compliance need to be on top of including labeling, restricted substances and product safety. These are some of the questions posed by attendees at that session.
Q1. We make clothing that contains plastic sequins. Do we need to disclose the material we’re using?
It depends upon the countries you’re selling to. In the US, the fiber identity labeling requirements apply only to textile fibers, fur, leather and wool.
So, if part of a product is made from a non-fibrous material — such as plastic, glass, wood, paint or metal — you don’t have to include that on your label. That includes the contents of zippers, buttons, beads, sequins, leather patches, painted designs, or any other parts that are not made from fiber, yarn, or fabric.
For more, see the FTC’s guidance, “Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts”: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/threading-your-way-through-labeling-requirements-under-textile
Q2. You discussed country of origin in the US and EU, but what about Canada? Is country of origin (COO) labeling required there?
Yes, The Canada Border Services Agency requires imported products to bear country of origin labeling.
The country has special COO labeling requirements for products imported into Canada from another NAFTA country, e.g., Mexico and/ or the US. Such products must be marked in English, French or Spanish.
Non-NAFTA goods must be marked in English or French.
For more, see CBSA’s Memorandum D11-4-2: Proof of Origin of Imported Goods: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d11/d11-4-2-eng.html
Q3. You mentioned the EU’s restrictions on azo dyes. Are there other countries with such restrictions?
Yes, other countries include Australia, Japan and Turkey, which is trying to join the EU.
If you’d like help with azo dyes in any particular countries, let us know, and we can help you to confirm/ clarify their approach.
Q4. You mentioned the US states’ restrictions on PBDEs; do other countries restrict brominated flame retardants?
The EU’s REACH Regulation restricts octabBDE and pentaBDE, along with other flame retardants, like asbestos, DBB, PBB and TRIS chemicals, in Annex XVII: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2006R1907:20121009:EN:PDF
Q5. You mentioned a Prop 65 settlement for “fashion accessories.” How can I see that settlement?
Compliance & Risks monitors California Proposition 65 60-day notices and settlements for a number of clients, selecting applicable notices and settlements and preparing updates on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis for them. We can certainly do this for you! Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With regard to the “fashion accessories” settlement, this came from Alameda County Superior Court and is Case Number RG-10-492983. It can be seen online at: https://publicrecords.alameda.courts.ca.gov/PRS/Case/SearchByCaseNumber (Search for the Case Number without hyphens!)
Q6. If you were making a children’s umbrella, what testing would be required by law? Is flammability required?
It depends upon which country you’re distributing to. In the US and Canada and EU, for instance, there are no regulations specifically governing umbrellas, whether for flammability or otherwise.
In Japan, umbrellas are subject to the Household Goods Quality Labeling Act, which lists several “miscellaneous manufactured goods.” Per the Act and its Regulations, umbrellas must be labeled with:
- Fiber identity;
- Length of the ribs;
- Handling precautions (for beach and garden parasols) and
- The name and address or phone number of the labeler.
The Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) provides an English-language guidance document on these requirements here: http://www.caa.go.jp/hinpyo/pdf_data/handbook_e.pdf
Additionally, beach umbrellas and children’s umbrellas are covered by the CAA’s Safety Goods (SG) Mark system, a voluntary scheme by which products which conform to required standards may bear the SG Mark.
The standards for beach umbrellas may be seen at: http://www.sg-mark.org/KIJUN/S0022-00.pdf
The standards for children’s umbrellas may be seen at: http://www.sg-mark.org/KIJUN/S0047-02.pdf
(Unfortunately, both standards are only available in Japanese.)
For more on the SG Mark System, see this helpful English-language guide: http://www.sg-mark.org/SEIDO/PDF/ninshotetsuzuki(E).pdf
Q7. Is there any chemical testing on the care label itself? For example Ph/ Formaldehyde/ Azo Dye as it would have contact with the skin?
Offhand, I only know of one country which has enacted such a requirement, China, with its mandatory standard, GB 31701, Safety technical code for infants and children textile products, which specifies that any permanent labels sewn into form-fitting clothing for infants must be placed at a position that does not directly contact the skin.
In the US, Canada and EU, in general, when it comes to care labels, laws and regulations are more concerned about their legibility for the useful life of the garment, to ensure that consumers can maintain the garment easily throughout. Some materials, such as satin, are less irritating to consumers’ skin, but the care instructions printed on the satin is likely to fade over time.
However, we do sometimes see news/ blogs/ NGO actions addressing the labels themselves, which is something we pass along to our clients, as we know, this can cause them headaches!
- In December 2001, the Wall Street Journal called clothing labels “a pain in the neck”: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1009403063589330120
- In July 20111, the New York Times reported on “annoying labels”: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/fashion/snipping-out-annoying-clothing-labels.html?_r=0
- In March 2013, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Daily Mail published a story about “intensely irritating” clothing labels: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2295039/The-intensely-irritating-reason-clothes-labels-getting-MUCH-bigger–itchier.html
Q8. Can you elaborate on the Utah regulation on filling materials disclosed on apparel and manufacturer registration?
The State of Utah has established cleanliness and labeling requirements for manufacturers and retailers of quilted clothing.
The law applies to quilted clothing, defined to mean a quilted garment or apparel, exclusive of trim used for aesthetic effect, or a stiffener, shoulder pads, interfacing, or other material that is made in whole or in part from filling material and sold or offered for sale.
The law requires every manufacturer, supply dealer and/ or wholesaler (including importers) of bedding, upholstered furniture, quilted clothing and related products to obtain a license from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food on an annual basis.
Additionally, the law requires bedding, upholstered furniture, quilted clothing and related products to include labeling in the form of a tag, indelibly stamped or imprinted, which includes:
- The identification of the manufacturer, retailer, wholesaler or dealer and address or registration number (RN#);
- Country of origin and
- Disclosure of the filling materials (i.e., generic name, percentage of filling materials by weight and order of predominance).
In March 2016, Utah voted to accept changes to the law. The revisions include changes to amend definitions, licensing provisions and provisions relating to unlawful acts, amend tagging requirements and updates for the sterilization of certain materials.
The amendment also clarifies that the sterilization process applies to “all wool, feathers, down, shoddy, hair or other material before the material is used as filling material in new bedding, upholstered furniture or quilted clothing.”
To watch our webinar “Textiles Compliance: Beyond the Label“ just click here. And if you have any questions in relation to complying with textiles regulations, why don’t you Ask Our Experts for free?!