Light Bulbs Get a New Nutrition Label


A couple weeks ago, the FTC released a final rule relating to new labels for light bulb packaging.  The labels are designed to help consumers understand the differences between traditional incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They’re also supposed to help consumers save money and energy, which is, after all, the ultimate goal with new technology.


A key aspect of the labeling program is the two-panel format.  The front panel includes brightness and energy cost information, while the back/side panel includes the same information, as well as wattage, bulb life, color temperature, and, sometimes, voltage and mercury information.

Wattage is not a mandatory disclosure on the front of product packaging.  Until this point, consumers have used wattage as a proxy for brightness when purchasing incandescent light bulbs.  But this won’t fly with other bulb types and consumers need to also look at light output information.

The label program does not require the disclosure of color rendering index or life cycle cost information either.  Inclusion of Energy Star information is voluntary, and there is no required disclosure of dimming capabilities, lead content, or cold weather performance.

Speaking about the new labels, Ginny Skalski, a contributor for the Cree LED Revolution Blog, said, “The new labels are exciting because they’re really setting the stage for the LED Lighting Revolution.”  That’s because LEDs last long, use a small amount of energy, and are becoming more competitive in cost and light output.  Plus, CFLs have the mercury issue.

You should start seeing these label disclosures in the middle of 2011.

[+] Learn more about New Labels for Light Bulb Packaging.

Media credits: FTC.

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  • chuck

    FTC stopped one step short. It should have included a net present value calculation to show which light bulb is truly the “best value.” I guess consumers can just do that on their own at Home Depot with their handy TI-85’s. (“Let’s see . . . $7.50 for this bulb now; n=5.5 years; and assuming r=5%; and a payment stream of $1.57/year . . .).

  • gerrr!

    I recall seeing something very similar if not exactly like this, two weeks ago at Home Depot. I expecially remember the label looking a lot like the food nutritional labels. Bought an LED light bulb with a medium screw in base.

    Anyone else notice that they appear to give off a gigantic EMF? I can’t have this bulb turned on if I want to watch OTA broadcast TV.

  • Martinsalice

    New light bulbs using LED lighting technology that involves less energy consumption is helpful for health and is a recommended thing for those who prefer natural and herbalife products.

  • Dbull

    It’s too bad they didn’t require dimming info since so many have dimmer switches. Also, it would have been common sense to give an approximate incandescent equivalent for at least a year or so since that is what people are used to. Why is there no more common sense? Not having this information hurts not helps encouraging people to use new bulbs.

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