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.
“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.