So Many Rules

Starting in the 1960s, the FTC read its organic statute as conveying the power to create trade regulation rules. Many of the rules from the 1960s have been repealed, but when they were in effect, violators could be subject to significant fines. Some, like the Cigarette Rule which required health hazard labels on tobacco products, were forward-looking and important interventions in the marketplace. Others were not so seminal. In 1995, the FTC repealed a quarter of the existing trade regulation rules, including:

The Quick Freeze Spray Rule: The FTC promulgated this rule to require warning labels on cans of refrigerant used to frost cocktail glasses at bars. Apparently bartenders used Dichlorofluoromethane (better known as Freon or R-21) for frosting glasses. People were critically injured or killed from inhaling it, and so the FTC mandated a label warning: “inhalation of the concentrated vapors of this product is harmful and may cause death.”[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][1] The spray was eventually phased out along with other R-21 based products because of their effect on the ozone layer.

The Sleeping Bag and Tablecloth Rules: These products were advertised with “cut sizes,” meaning the dimensions of the product before they were finished. The rules required sleeping bags[2] and tablecloths to be advertised with their finished size.[3]

Fiberglass Curtain and Draperies Rule: Required warnings that fiberglass window dressings could cause skin irritation when handled.[4]

The Binocular Rule: Specified terms for the marketing of binoculars and field glasses. This came about because manufactures made field glasses disguised as real binoculars (devices with a mirror or prism).[5]

The Extension Ladder Rule: Required ladders to be advertised with their maximum working length rather than their overall length.[6]

[1] 16 CFR Part 417.

[2] 16 CFR Part 400.

[3] 16 CFR Part 404.

[4] 16 CFR Part 413.

[5] 16 CFR Part 402.

[6] 16 CFR Part 418.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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