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Environmental Working Group v. United States Food & Drug Administration

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20049
Nos. 1:16-cv-2435, (D.D.C., 03/19/2018) (McFadden, J.)

A district court dismissed environmental groups' lawsuit against the FDA concerning the use of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-producing chemicals in hair-straightening products. The groups petitioned the FDA to investigate deceptive labeling of such products, require appropriate labeling, and consider implementing a complete ban on formaldehyde-releasing chemicals in hair-straightening products. The FDA issued a formal response, but the groups filed suit, seeking an order requiring the FDA to grant the petition and initiate rule-making processes. The groups, however, lack standing. Lobbying expenditures are insufficient to establish organizational standing. Likewise, to the extent the groups rely on their anti-formaldehyde educational efforts to demonstrate injury, they failed to show that the FDA's alleged inaction required them to spend anything beyond their typical annual expenditures. Nor did the groups establish associational standing. The groups failed to show a “real and immediate threat” of future injury to their members. Rather, all of the alleged injuries occurred in the past.