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EPA Issues Order to eBay to Stop Selling 170 Unregistered, Misbranded Pesticides

WASHINGTON – On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered eBay Inc., of San Jose, California, to stop selling 170 unregistered and/or misbranded pesticide products in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The EPA amended the Stop Sale Use or Removal Order issued to eBay on June 10, 2020 to include the additional products. 

Following up on tips and complaints from consumers and members of the regulated community, the EPA identified 170 pesticides on eBay.com that were either not registered with the Agency, labeled with false or misleading statements (misbranded), or both. 

“Unregistered pesticides can pose a serious hazard to human health and the environment,” said Larry Starfield, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA remains committed to holding online retailers such as eBay accountable for the sale of these dangerous products through their websites.”

Through FIFRA, Congress tasked the EPA to regulate the production, sale, distribution, and use of pesticides in the United States. FIFRA makes it unlawful for any person to distribute or sell a pesticide that is not registered with the EPA or a pesticide with false or misleading labeling. The EPA is authorized to issue a stop sale use or removal order whenever a pesticide is found to be in violation of FIFRA’s requirements.

Among the pesticide products subject to the amended order is brodifacoum, a highly lethal anticoagulant poison with several links to human intoxication, and dichlorvos (aka DDVP), an organophosphate insecticide that has various restrictions and prohibited uses in the United States due to the dangers it presents to human health (EPA also classified DDVP as a probable human carcinogen). 
 

A bottle of Sniper DDVP dichlorvos
 
Recently, the EPA issued alerts to different members of the public including apartment building managers and superintendents, flight crews, customs and border protection agents, and the general public to increase awareness of the dangers posed by DDVP both in its application and transportation. 

Also included in the amended order are pesticides that eBay failed to stop selling after the June 10, 2020 order such as Virus Shut Out, a purported spatial disinfection card that claims to protect the wearer from the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). 
 
 A bottle of Virus Shut Out


To view the stop sale order, view: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/amended-stop-sale-use-or-removal-order-issued-ebay-inc.

To make the public aware of the dangers of DDVP, EPA developed five fact sheets targeted to different audiences: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ddvp-fact-sheets.

For additional information on the coronavirus: www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

Members of the public can help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations. Learn more here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violation-general-information

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ESG Safe is an authorized reseller of regulated disinfectant and PPE gear. Buyers can be assured of quality with shipment direct from manufacturer certified distribution facilities to you. They are best in class, often innovative game changers, and almost always available for immediate delivery. Our team will guide you to the best solutions.

San Diego Firm and Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegal Importation, Sale and Mailing of Product Marketed as COVID-19 Killer

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego firm and its owner pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges relating to the unlawful importation, sale and mailing of an unregistered pesticide product from Japan marketed as a killer of airborne viruses such as COVID-19.

The product, known as EcoAirDoctor, was a small badge represented to emit a gas that would kill viruses within a certain distance.  Such products are required to be registered as pesticides in the United States; no such registration was obtained.

Samir Haj, owner of EcoShield, LLC, admitted that he negotiated an agreement on behalf of the company with a foreign exporter that allowed him to import the product for a cost of $6.25 per unit. When he imported 125,000 units into the United States on June 10, 2019, he falsely declared the value to be approximately $2.07 per unit, resulting in an underpayment of Customs duty of $33,919.

The product was falsely described as an air purifier rather than a pesticide. The defendants shipped the product to individuals who purchased from their website via U.S. Mail, including a shipment to an undercover mailbox in Arizona in May of 2020. The product, as noted on the label, contains sodium chlorite, which is an item declared to be unmailable under U.S. Postal rules and regulations.  Sodium chlorite was deemed unmailable because of its propensity to cause fire or explosion.

As part of the plea agreements, the defendants agreed to forfeit $427,689, the proceeds from the sale of the illegal product, and to pay restitution of $86,754 for the unpaid duty and the cost of disposing of the product that was not sold.  In addition, the company agreed to pay a fine of $42,000, for a total financial penalty of $556,443.

“This defendant took advantage of COVID-19 fears to market an illegal product,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We are aggressively pursuing opportunists who exploit the pandemic to make money.”

Grossman praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Pierson; trial attorney Stephen DaPonte of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section; and agents with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division; Homeland Security Investigations; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their exceptional work on this case.

“Unregistered pesticide products pose serious public health dangers,” said Special Agent in Charge Scot Adair of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that EPA and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from products that make fraudulent – and potentially harmful – COVID-19 protection claims.”

“Whenever someone uses the U.S. Mail to send dangerous, illegal, or improper items, Postal Inspectors will find them and bring them to justice,” said Eric Shen, Acting Postal Inspector in Charge, Los Angeles Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “We remain committed to keeping the mail safe for our customers and our employees.”

“This individual violated several federal laws and jeopardized public safety by marketing and selling an unproven device,” said Cardell T. Morant, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “It’s despicable that he preyed upon people’s fear of COVID-19 to turn a profit. HSI will continue to work with our partners at Environmental Protection Agency -Criminal Investigation Division, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure public safety during this pandemic.”

Sentencing is scheduled for August 13, 2021 at 9 a.m. Before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.

DEFENDANTS                                               Case Number 21cr1463

EcoShield, LLC                                               Formed: July 2018                         San Diego, California     

Samir Haj                                                                     Age: 46San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

For Eco Shield LLC

Entry of Goods Falsely Classified – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 541

Maximum penalty: Five years of probation and $500,000 fine or twice the amount of gross gain or loss, restitution to victims, forfeiture of proceeds

For Samir Haj

Entry of Goods Falsely Classified – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 541

Maximum penalty: Two years in custody and $250,000 fine, restitution to victims, forfeiture of proceeds

Nonmailable Injurious Articles – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1716(j)(1)

Maximum penalty: One year in custody and $100,000 fine

Distribution or Sale of Unregistered Pesticides – Title 7, U.S.C., Sections 136j(a)(1)(A) and 136l(b)(1)(B)

Maximum penalty: One year in custody and $100,000 fine

AGENCIES

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division

Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

For more information on EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division, visit: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/criminal-enforcement.

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ESG Safe is an authorized reseller of regulated disinfectant and PPE gear. Buyers can be assured of quality with shipment direct from manufacturer certified distribution facilities. Our team will guide you to the best solutions.

BIOPROTECT STOP SALE
EPA orders Philadelphia company to stop making inaccurate health claims about pesticide

03/31/2021 Contact Information:  EPA Region 3 Press Office

PHILADELPHIA (March 31, 2021) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered ViaClean Technologies, operating in Philadelphia, to stop marketing the pesticide BioProtect RTU with claims that it is effective against surfaces from public health related pathogens such as the coronavirus.

Although the product is registered to inhibit the growth of “non-public health” microorganisms, it is not registered to address “public health” pathogens. EPA is concerned that customers may have used this product as protection from a virus – such as the coronavirus — in lieu of other EPA-approved disinfection methods.

“Improperly marketed pesticides, especially during a pandemic, may cause injury to consumers,” said Acting EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator Diana Esher. “EPA remains vigilant and will continue to protect the health and safety of Americans from products that have false or misleading public health claims.”

ViaClean provided two BioProtect RTU fact sheets containing public health claims to at least one customer, including the statement that the pesticide can be used to kill “germs.”

Some online distributors, cleaning services, and end-recipients of BioProtect RTU were also making unsubstantiated claims that this product is effective against pathogens, germs, disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and/or the novel coronavirus for up to 90 days.

EPA issued a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order to prevent BioProtectRTU from continuing to sell this product with public health claims that have not been substantiated through the pesticide registration process.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs, including disinfectants, are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA. Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.

EPA has released an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. List-N contains over 460 additional products—including products that went through the expedited review process for emerging viral pathogens.

To view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

For more information on EPA resources on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19): https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus

For more information on pesticides, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides   

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DISCLAIMER:

ESG Safe staff searched the internet to learn more about the referenced products. Since the specific literature in question is unknown, it’s hard to discern whether any literature on the web now is related to the stop order. The image shown contains content that was publicly obtained from an internet reseller. It has the word germs but there’s now way to know if it contributed to the violation. Note, disinfectants are regulated by the EPA under the category pesticides as there is no specific category for disinfectants.

Products distributed by ESG Safe always meet government requirements and are verifiable on various agency web sites.

epa disinfectant FN NANO illegal
U.S. EPA orders Nevada and California companies to stop selling illegal disinfectants

SAN FRANCISO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Macoma, LLC and FN Nano, Inc., located in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, as well as JT Construction Group, Inc. and BZ Nano, located in Glendale, California, to stop selling the unregistered disinfectant FN Nano Photocatalytic coatings, aka FN Coatings, FN NANO2 Photocatalytic Film. This product is an unregistered disinfectant pesticide being sold in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Such practices are particularly problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and EPA will continue to take enforcement actions such as this ‘Stop Sale’ order to protect public health.

EPA has issued the ‘Stop Sale’ order to prevent the companies from continuing to distribute or offer for sale these unregistered disinfectants. The products have been available for sale on their websites and are marketed for use in medical facilities, schools, offices, and homes.

“Effective disinfectants are vital to our communities in a pandemic.,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Enforcement Director Amy Miller. “If disinfectants are not registered, not effective, or make false claims, EPA will take action.”

Public health claims for pesticide products, including disinfectants, can only be made following proper testing and registration with the EPA. The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been determined the product will not pose an unreasonable risk to human health when used according to the label directions. Unregistered products can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs.

To view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

Press release source: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/us-epa-orders-nevada-and-california-companies-stop-selling-illegal-disinfectants

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ESG Safe staff searched the internet to see if the products are still being marketed and sold. The answer is yes. No information regarding a response or whether they are currently seeking to get their products registered for sale in the US was found as of April 9, 2021. Products distributed by ESG Safe always meet government requirements and are verifiable on various agency web sites.

EPA orders Amazon to halt illegal pesticides sales

The Seattle office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has issued a “stop sale” order to Amazon.com to prevent sales on the platform of potentially dangerous or ineffective unregistered pesticides and pesticide devices making illegal and misleading claims, including multiple products that claimed to protect against viruses.

This action adds 70 products to a June 6, 2020 EPA order which contained over 30 illegal products. 

Unregistered pesticides in the e-commerce marketplace pose a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets, and others exposed to the products,” says Ed Kowalski, director of the Enforcement Compliance Assurance Division in EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle.

This is the third pesticide stop-sale order issued by the agency to Amazon in the last three years. Beyond the stop-sales EPA has mounted other efforts to stop fraudulent products, such as partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop multiple imports of millions of illegal disinfectant products imported by or for sale on Amazon. EPA has also provided guidance to e-commerce companies on multiple occasions about their requirements to ensure their disinfectant products are legal and safe.

The agency advises consumers who have purchased an unregistered pesticide product or a misbranded pesticidal device to safely dispose of it in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. This is especially important for consumers seeking to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA recommends that consumers only purchase products on EPA’s “List N of Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19).”  EPA expects all products on this list to kill the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label directions. 

Under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, pesticides and disinfectants intended for sale in the U.S. must be evaluated for safety and efficacy by EPA and bear approved labeling with an EPA registration number (e.g. “EPA Reg. No. 1234-56”) and an EPA establishment number (e.g., “EPA Est. No. 12345-AA-1” (domestic) or “EPA Est. No. 12345-AAA1” (foreign)). In contrast, pesticidal devices must bear an EPA establishment number and conform to certain other requirements, but they are not evaluated for safety and efficacy by EPA before marketing.

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fda logo
FDA News Release Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Continues to Combat Fraudulent COVID-19 Medical Products

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is providing an update on the agency’s efforts to combat the extremely concerning actions by companies and individuals that are exploiting or taking advantage of widespread fear among consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to scammers on the internet selling unproven medical products, the FDA has taken – and continues to take – a number of steps to find and stop those selling unapproved products that fraudulently claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19.

“While we seek to ensure access to critical medical products, it is imperative that we continue our efforts to find and prevent the sale and distribution of products that may be harmful to the public health. Americans can rest assured that we’re leveraging our experience investigating, examining, and reviewing medical products, both at the border and within domestic commerce, to help ensure that the critical resources reaching the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19 are appropriate,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D. “We take seriously our responsibility to determine whether the medical products coming into our country are fraudulent, counterfeit or illegitimate, and take action as needed.”

To date, the FDA has issued 42 warning letters to companies making bogus COVID-19 claims, including one to a seller of fraudulent chlorine dioxide products, equivalent to industrial bleach, frequently referred to as “Miracle Mineral Solution” or “MMS”, as a treatment for COVID-19. After the seller refused to take corrective action, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction requiring the seller to immediately stop distributing its unproven and potentially dangerous product.

Additionally, as part of the FDA’s Operation Quack Hack, in just a few short weeks, the agency has discovered hundreds of such products including fraudulent drugs, testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) sold online with unproven claims. We continue to work with online marketplaces, domain name registrars, payment processors and social media websites to remove from their platforms products that fraudulently claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19 and to keep those products from reappearing under different names. At this time, the FDA has sent hundreds of abuse complaints to domain name registrars and internet marketplaces, who in most instances, have voluntarily removed the identified postings. We will continue to monitor the online ecosystem for fraudulent products peddled by bad actors seeking to profit from this global pandemic. We encourage anyone aware of suspected fraudulent medical products for COVID-19 to report them to the FDA.

There are a number of examples of unproven products that the FDA is keeping out of the country. Recently, the agency intercepted and investigated a case of mislabeled COVID-19 “treatment kits” offered for import. As a result, Special Agents with the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, with the help of domestic and international law enforcement counterparts in the United Kingdom, led the Department of Justice to bring a criminal complaint against a British man who sought to profit from this pandemic and jeopardize public health.

Until the curve is flattened, and even after, the FDA will continue to carry out the agency’s mission of protecting the health and safety of American consumers and strive to prevent unlawful FDA-regulated products from entering, or being distributed in, domestic commerce.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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Center for International Environmental Law logo
Sweeping New Report on Global Environmental Impact of Plastics Reveals Severe Damage to Climate

Study Recommends Solutions, Including Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics

WASHINGTON, DC — In 2019 alone, the production and incineration of plastic will add more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere—equal to the pollution from 189 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants, according to a new report, Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet. The rapid global growth of the plastic industry—fueled by cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing—is not only destroying the environment and endangering human health but also undermining efforts to reduce carbon pollution and prevent climate catastrophe.

This is the conclusion of a sweeping new study of the global environmental impact of the plastic industry by the Center for International Environmental Law, Environmental Integrity Project, FracTracker Alliance, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, 5 Gyres, and Break Free From Plastic.

The new report gathers research on the greenhouse gas emissions of plastic at each stage of the plastic lifecycle—from its birth as fossil fuels through refining and manufacture to the massive emissions at (and after) plastic’s useful life ends—to create the most comprehensive review to date of the climate impacts of plastic.

With the ongoing, rapid expansion of the plastic and petrochemical industries, the climate impacts of plastic are poised to accelerate dramatically in the coming decade, threatening the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C degrees. If plastic production and use grow as currently planned, by 2030, emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year—equivalent to the emissions released by more than 295 500-megawatt coal power plants. By 2050, the production and disposal of plastic could generate 56 gigatons of emissions, as much as 14 percent of the earth’s entire remaining carbon budget.

The rapid growth of the industry over the last decade, driven by cheap natural gas from the hydraulic fracturing boom, has been most dramatic in the United States, which is witnessing a dramatic buildout of new plastic infrastructure in the Gulf Coast and in the Ohio River Valley.

For example, in western Pennsylvania, a new Shell natural gas products processing plant being constructed to provide ingredients for the plastics industry (called an “ethane cracker”) could emit up to 2.25 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution each year (carbon dioxide equivalent tons). A new ethylene plant at ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery along the Texas Gulf Coast will release up to 1.4 million tons, according to the Plastic and Climate report. Annual emissions from just these two new facilities would be equal to adding almost 800,000 new cars to the road. Yet they are only two among more than 300 new petrochemical projects being built in the US alone, primarily for the production of plastic and plastic additives.

Plastic in the environment is one of the least studied sources of emissions—and a key missing piece from previous studies on plastic’s climate impacts. Oceans absorb a significant amount of the greenhouse gases produced on the planet—as much as 40 percent of all human-produced carbon dioxide since the beginning of the industrial era. Plastic & Climate highlights how a small but growing body of research suggests plastic discarded in the environment may be disrupting the ocean’s natural ability to absorb and sequester carbon dioxide. Plastic & Climate uses conservative assumptions to create a projection of plastic’s climate impacts under a business-as-usual scenario, meaning that the actual climate impacts of plastic are likely to exceed these projections.

The report identifies a series of actions that can be taken to reduce these climate impacts, concluding that the most effective way to address the plastic crisis is to dramatically reduce the production of unnecessary plastic, beginning with national and global bans on nearly all single-use, disposable plastic.

The proposed solutions include:

  • ending the production and use of single-use, disposable plastic;
  • stopping development of new oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure;
  • fostering the transition to zero-waste communities;
  • implementing extended producer responsibility as a critical component of circular economies; and
  • adopting and enforcing ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including plastic production.

Source: https://www.ciel.org/news/plasticandclimate/ Since 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has used the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society.