In response to a Congressional mandate, as outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) currently is evaluating a new labeling system for medium screw-based lamps—general service incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs for consumer purchase. The proposal also applies to medium screw-based LED lamps.

The reason for the labels is to provide consumers with clearer, more substantive information to aid them in selecting light bulbs. Currently, labels only require manufacturers to indicate light output (lumens), energy use (watts), and lamp life (measured in hours).

The new system would require two labels. On the front of the package, the first label would include information about the lamp's brightness (lumen output) and estimated yearly energy cost. A second label on the back also would include brightness and yearly energy cost, but it also would tell the consumer the bulb's life (in years), color temperature, and energy used (watts). In addition, this back label would have to state if the lamp contains mercury.

In 2008, feedback from focus groups, and comments supplied by members of the lighting industry and other stakeholders, indicated that brightness and yearly energy costs were consumers' greatest concerns. The FTC then conducted another comment period, which closed on Dec. 28, 2009. However, it is un- FRONT clear if the lighting industry was invited to participate in this second comment period, or if they submitted any additional comments to the FTC.

Unlike the U.S. Department of Energy's LED labeling initiative launched in July 2008—the Solid-State Lighting Quality Advocates program, which is voluntary—the FTC's labeling requirements will be mandatory. According to Hampton Newsome at the Bureau of Consumer Protection, the FTC will announce its final plans for the labeling system in June 2010.