The Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR)
The National Conference on Weights and Measures, Inc. (NCWM) is a standards writing organization formed by the states to develop model regulations in order to promote uniformity and equity in the market place. States usually model their laws and regulations on these models. This leads to great similarity in the laws and regulations of various states, which makes interstate commerce much easier.
> Among these model regulations are the "Uniform Laws and Regulations", which
include the "Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation" (UPLR). The UPLR picks
up where the federal government's "Fair Packaging and Labeling Act" (FPLA) stops
in the coverage of marketplace goods. In 1999 The NCWM amended the UPLR to allow
(but not require) metric-only labeling. Once adopted by the various states, it
becomes effective for those jurisdictions.
An amendment to the FPLA has been drafted and two national, public forums
have been held to gain the inputs and backing of commercial and public entities.
This ammendment is expected to be presented to Congress, with the purpose of
making metric-only labeling an option for goods regulated by the federal
The rapid progress of adoption of permissible metric-only labeling at the state level
Fourteen states routinely and automatically adopt the current version of the
UPLR by merely citing it as their state's packaging and labeling regulation;
therefore they automatically adopted the UPLR amendment. Most of the remaining
states joined this list either by taking overt action to adopt the UPLR or by
separate action such as legislation or policy setting. Yet other states allowed
metric-only labeling even prior to the amending of the UPLR model regulation.
Metric MethodsSM and the U.S. Metric
Association conducted a joint survey of the Weights and Measures
officers of the states and jurisdictions in 2000 in order to determine their
status on allowing metric-only labeling. By 2000 April 27, the replies showed
incredibly rapid response in the several months since the UPLR amendment was
adopted by the NCWM; half the states permitted metric-only labeling within
just a few months of the effective date of the UPLR revision! By the fall of
2005, 46 states had signed on. Only four states remain to permit metric-only
labeling: Alabama, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
The progress is about what we at Metric
MethodsSM expected based on the 2000
survey. This rapid acceptance (27 states in 4 months, 40 states in about 2.5
years, now 46 states) of the option to use metric-only labeling on goods
regulated at the state level is commensurate with the strong and nearly
unanimous endorsement of the draft amendment to the FPLR that NIST presented at
the forum. Especially noteworthy is that some states which first reported as not
intending to allow metric-only labeling have since done so. As indicated by the
forum speakers and apparently as indicated by the states' actions, businesses
want the permissible metric-only labeling option to be made available to them in
order to stay competitive. Allowing metric-only labeling
removes a trade barrier for American businesses! Those businesses who
wish not to provide metic-only labeling would of course be free to do so, but
they must then continue to bear the costs of multiple labeling schemes.
Goods covered by the UPLR
The following goods represent a partial list of the goods covered by the UPLR. This list is
intended to be suggestive only; any doubtful items should be cleared via appropriate channels:
aluminum clothesline (plastic clothesline with a steel core)
household furnishings (including feather and down-filled products, synthetic-filled bed pillows, mattress pads, quilts, comforters, decorative curtains)
ironing board covers
lambs wool dusters
magnetic recording tape (reels, cassettes & cartridges)
motor oil (but not household multipurpose oil)
mouse and rat traps
paint and kindred products (wallpaper, turpentine, putty, paint removers, caulking and glazing compounds, wood fillers, etc. But not bathroom caulking materials, patching plaster, spackling compound, and plastic wood.)
pet care supplies
plastic buckets and garbage cans
plastic tablecloths, place mats and plastic shelf linings (but not 'bug-proof shelf linings)
polishing cloths (unless impregnated with polish or chemicals)
self-stick protective felt tabs
sewing thread and accessories (all types of needles, thimbles, etc.)
small arms ammunition
silverware, stainless steelware, and pewterware
soap bars (but not with a drug claim or claim to remove facial blemishes)
stationery and writing supplies (loose-leaf binders, paper tablets, etc.)
copyright 1999-2013 James R. Frysinger, Metric Methods
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