The Federal Trade Commission Labels for Light Bulb Packaging

On June 18, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission, under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, announced a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. This page is dedicated to providing updated information on the label, including how it relates to the LED Lighting Facts label.
 

Federal Trade Commission Labels Overview


As of January 1, 2012, all packaging for medium screw base bulbs must include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Lighting Facts label with prominent information on the lumen output. The FTC Lighting Facts label emphasizes lumen output, and will help consumers choose the right bulb for their lighting needs, while moving them away from reliance on wattage when selecting a bulb. This effort is especially important with the Energy Independence and Security Act phase-out of inefficient bulbs beginning in 2012.

Requirements

The new FTC rule will affect three places on a light bulb and its packaging:

  1. FTC label on the front of packaging
    FTC Label Front
    The FTC label required on the front of packaging will provide information on brightness (lumen output) and estimated annual energy cost.
     
  2. FTC label on the back of packaging
    FTC Label Back
    The FTC Lighting Facts label required on the back of packaging will provide information about:
    1. brightness
    2. energy cost
    3. the bulb’s life expectancy
    4. light appearance (for example, if the bulb provides “warm” or “cool” light)
    5. wattage (the amount of energy the bulb uses)
    6. whether the bulb contains mercury
       
  3. Bulb information
    The lumen output must be printed on the bulb. If a bulb contains mercury, this must also be disclosed on the bulb.
     

FTC Lighting Facts Label and DOE’s LED Lighting Facts Label

The FTC label is a consumer label, unlike the LED Lighting Facts label which is primarily a tool for buyers and specifiers. Therefore, the LED Lighting Facts label is still a valuable industry tool. In fact, the FTC encourages stakeholders to reference the LED Lighting Facts program, especially as DOE works to  improve bulb life testing methodologies for LED lamps, because the FTC label does not specifically require test procedures to verify the stated performance or lifetime claims.

Additionally, LED Lighting Facts continues to require appropriate testing for products listed with the voluntary program, while no testing is required for a FTC label. The FTC label applies only to medium screw base bulbs, while the LED Lighting Facts label applies to all solid-state lighting products. Finally, multiple qualification programs now require the LED Lighting Facts label. Therefore, the LED Lighting Facts label will continue to have value to retail buyers, utilities, and lighting professionals as a definitive resource for evaluating performance of LED lamps. LED Lighting Facts will not encourage the use of its label on packaging once the FTC label is required, but the retailers and manufacturers who are LED Lighting Facts partners should still rely on the verified information from the DOE Lighting Facts label when reviewing products to sell in-store.

DOE LED Lighting Facts Label FTC Lighting Facts Label
All fixture types Medium screw based light bulbs only
SSL only SSL, fluorescent, incandescent and halogen
Voluntary Mandatory
Not required on packaging Required on packaging
Label for industry use Label for consumers
Lifetime not listed Lifetime listed
LM-79 testing required; verified by DOE and off-the-shelf testing program No lifetime testing required for SSL
Based on manufacturer claims

See the Frequently Asked Questions: The FTC Lighting Facts Label for more information
 

Resources


FTC Appliance Labeling Rule

On July 19, 2010, the FTC released the final amendments to the lamp labeling requirements in the Appliance Labeling Rule and provided the opportunity for further comment on several issues for consideration. http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/06/100719appliancelabelingrule.pdf
 

FTC Label Templates for manufacturers

http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/light-bulb-labels-templates
 

FTC Questions and Answers for Manufacturers

http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus26-lighting-facts-questions-and-answers-manufacturers