Under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, the FTC is announcing a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. For the first time, the label on the front of the package will emphasize the bulbs’ brightness as measured in lumens, rather than a measurement of watts. The new front-of-package labels also will include the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb.
While watt measurements are familiar to consumers and have been featured on the front of light bulb packages for decades, watts are a measurement of energy use, not brightness. As a result, reliance on watt measurements alone make it difficult for consumers to compare traditional incandescent bulbs to more efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescents. A compact fluorescent bulb may be able to produce the same amount of brightness as a traditional incandescent bulb, while using significantly less energy, or watts. New energy standards mandated by Congress will effectively phase out traditional low-efficiency incandescent bulbs from the U.S. market over the next few years. The new labels that focus on brightness in lumens will help consumers make purchasing decisions as they transition to more energy-efficient types of bulbs.
Under the new rule, the back of each package of light bulbs will have a “Lighting Facts” label modeled after the “Nutrition Facts” label that is currently on food packages. The Lighting Facts label will provide information about:
* energy cost;
* the bulb’s life expectancy;
* light appearance (for example, “warm” or “cool” light);
* wattage (the amount of energy the bulb uses); and
* whether the bulb contains mercury.
For bulbs containing mercury, The bulb’s brightness, measured in lumens, and a disclosure also will be printed on each bulb.
SOURCE: U.S. Federal Trade Commission