For the third time in as many years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides on its online marketplace, saying the chemicals pose “a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets, and others exposed to the products.”
In its most recent “stop-sale” order, issued Tuesday, the EPA’s Seattle office told Amazon to take down listings for dozens of products the agency said are potentially dangerous or ineffective, including some products claiming to kill viruses.
Amazon has removed those products, a spokesperson for the Seattle-based commerce giant said in a statement. The company has “processes in place” to “proactively block” unregistered pesticides and products making inaccurate claims about COVID-19 before they are listed for sale, the spokesperson said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to questions about how the latest products identified by the EPA evaded the company’s monitoring systems.
The environmental agency has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with illegal pesticide vendors on Amazon.com for almost a decade.
Between 2013 and 2018, the EPA charged that Amazon committed nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by allowing third-party vendors to sell and distribute from Amazon warehouses pesticides and disinfectants that had not been evaluated by the EPA for safety and efficacy.
Amazon settled those charges for $1.2 million, and committed to more closely monitoring and removing illegal pesticides from its platform.
Last June, the EPA ordered Amazon to remove more than 30 illegal pesticides still for sale, including one labeled “Amazon’s Choice,” signifying the company recommended it to consumers. Tuesday’s action added 70 products to that list, including products marketed as household and pool cleansers, bracelets purporting to repel mosquitoes and a range of appliances claiming to kill or neutralize viruses.
Consumers seeking protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, should purchase products on the EPA’s list of suggested disinfectants, the agency said in a news release.