SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon.com, Inc. has been ordered for the third time in three years to stop selling illegal pesticides on its online marketplace, including some products claiming to kill viruses, federal officials said.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that its Seattle office issued a "stop-sale" order on Jan. 7 requiring Amazon to take down listings for dozen of products the agency said posed a health risk to people and pets exposed to the products, The Seattle Times reported.
The commerce giant said in a statement that it put “processes in place” to “proactively block” unregistered pesticides and products making inaccurate claims about COVID-19 before they are listed for sale.
“We have no idea what those products are made of,” Chad Schulze, an EPA enforcement officer in Seattle, said Tuesday. “And when you have people purchasing a product that says it will kill or control viruses in their personal space but it does not, that’s a huge risk as well.”
The EPA previously claimed Amazon committed about 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act between 2013 and 2018 by allowing third-party vendors to sell and distribute products not evaluated by the agency.
Amazon settled those charges for $1.2 million and committed to more closely monitoring and removing illegal pesticides from its marketplace. The company also created an online learning module on federal regulations and required all vendors to pass a quiz.
Schulze said that Amazon has had fewer illegal pesticides on its platform since then, but that it is “not perfect.”