New Labeling Requirements for Polyester Clothing in US
In view of the recent concerns about ocean pollution from microfiber shedding during the washing of textiles made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, new bills have been released in the states of California and Connecticut that will require polyester clothing to have a label warning about shedding in the wash.
SAFEGUARDS | Softlines NO. 026/18
In California, a new bill (AB 2379 ) has recently been introduced by the California State Assembly that will require all clothing made of fabric containing more than 50% polyester to bear a conspicuous label that warns of plastic microfiber shedding during regular washing. Instead, it will recommend hand washing the garment to reduce the impact of plastic microfiber shedding. According to the bill, microfibers are tiny plastic fibers that shed from synthetic fabric during regular washing and are the single most pervasive type of plastic pollution. Garments made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, can shed up to 1,900 microfibers per wash. Effluent from washing machines and wastewater treatment plants are a significant source of microfiber pollution, entering both waterways and the ocean. This poses a serious threat to the environment, with microfibers being found in fish and shellfish that are consumed by humans.
California’s new bill aims to educate the public on recognizing the emerging threat that microfibers pose to the environment and water quality, and will provide information about the sources of microfiber pollution. The bill also intends to reduce the amount of microfiber that enters the environment and is subsequently consumed by wildlife.
AB 2379 will become effective January 1, 2020 after which the selling or offering for sale of clothing without the required label would be prohibited. Hats and shoes will be exempt.
In Connecticut, the General Assembly recently released the Raised Bill No. 341  which proposes improving consumer awareness and establishing an education program. Included in the program would be a clothing labelling requirement that would alert consumers to the presence of synthetic microfibers in clothing and would explain how microfibers are released during washing and can result in pollution of waterways. The program is expected to be implemented not later than December 1, 2019.
SGS Global Softlines has an extensive network of over 40 laboratories worldwide, with a strong team of committed professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Our internationally accredited state-of-the-art testing laboratories offer a comprehensive range of physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. We help your company ensure quality, performance and compliance with international, industrial and regulatory standards worldwide. Discover more at www.sgs.com/softlines.
For enquiries, please contact:
Director Technical Support, Softlines
t: +1 973 461 7919
Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!
Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry© SGS Group Management SA - 2018 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.