WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) Inc will pay a roughly $1.2 million penalty to settle nearly 4,000 alleged violations of U.S. law in a move to prevent harmful exposure to pesticides through illegal sales, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.
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Amazon agreed to closely monitor and remove illegal pesticide products from its website in an effort to "significantly reduce the number of illegal pesticides available through the online marketplace," the EPA said.
The EPA alleged Amazon had sold and distributed imported insecticide and pesticide products that had not been licensed to be sold in the United States.
Amazon immediately removed the products from its website, banned foreign sellers from selling pesticides and stepped up the monitoring of its website for illegal pesticides, the EPA said.
Amazon also asked customers who purchased the products in 2013-2016 to communicate safety concerns, urged them to dispose of the items and refunded customers the cost of the products, about $130,000, the EPA said.
In a statement Amazon responded:
Regulatory compliance is a top priority at Amazon. Third-party sellers are required to comply with all relevant laws and regulations when listing items for sale on Amazon. When sellers don’t comply with our terms, we work quickly to take action on behalf of customers. We will continue to innovate on behalf of our customers and to work with brands, manufacturers, government agencies, law enforcement, and others to protect the integrity of our marketplace. – Amazon spokesperson
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Susan Thomas and Jeffrey Benkoe)