The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a final rule that amends lamp labeling requirements in the Appliance Labeling Rule (16 CFR Part 305). As directed by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, FTC has reconsidered the effectiveness of light bulb labeling in advance of standards that will eliminate low-efficiency incandescent bulbs from the market in 2012. According to the FTC notice, “The remaining higher efficiency light bulbs will include products widely available now, such as compact fluorescent lamps (‘CFLs’), as well as products likely to become increasingly available in the future, such as high efficiency solid-state lighting (e.g., light-emitting diode (‘LED’) products).”

Effective July 19, 2011, the amendments will require manufacturers “to provide brightness and energy-cost information on the front of light bulb packages,” as well as “a detailed ‘Lighting Facts’ label on the side or rear.” Similar to the Nutritional Facts on food items, the Lighting Facts panel must contain disclosures about “brightness, energy cost, bulb life, light appearance, watts, and, in some cases, voltage and mercury information.” For the first time, brightness will also be indicated in lumens as opposed to watts, which measure energy use but not the strength of light.

In making these disclosures, manufacturers must also follow Department of Energy test procedures and submit data for their labeled lamps. FTC will accept comments on the final rule until September 20, 2010. See FTC Press Release, June 18, 2010; Federal Register, July 19, 2010.