EPA orders Amazon, eBay to stop selling faulty coronavirus, pesticide products

Products are 'unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use'

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday sent a notice to Amazon and eBay ordering to two e-commerce giants to stop selling pesticides and faulty coronavirus-related products.

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The agency said third-party or direct sellers are listing these "unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use" pesticide and COVID-19-related products on Amazon and eBay's platforms.

"These stop-sale orders to Amazon and eBay demonstrate the Trump administration's continued commitment to protecting the health and safety of Americans," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a Thursday statement. “We remain vigilant against the claims of producers that falsely assert their efficacy and safety."

Amazon screenshot/ FOX Business

He added that "products that falsely claim to be effective against COVID-19" are of particular importance amid the pandemic.

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"It is our duty to continue transparent communication with the public on unregistered products that may cause injury to consumers, and immediately remove them from commerce," Wheeler said.

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Wheeler held talks with Amazon, eBay and other e-commerce websites regarding the prevalence of unregistered or otherwise problematic and potentially dangerous products available on their platforms. The EPA says that despite those discussions, however, Amazon and eBay have failed to consistently block listings for "unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use pesticides" and COVID-19 products.

eBay told FOX Business that the website's priority "remains ensuring the safety" of its "customers and employees around the world."

"Amid the [COVID-19] pandemic, we have taken significant measures to block or quickly remove items from our marketplace that are unsafe, make false health claims or violate our zero-tolerance price gouging policy," eBay said.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.3,162.58-24.15-0.76%
EBAYEBAY INC.50.97+0.68+1.35%

The agency also said some of these unregistered or misbranded pesticides and COVID-19 products include statements like the following on Amazon and eBay:

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  • “Kills COVID-19”
  • “Complete sterilization including the current pandemic virus”
  • “Coronavirus disinfectant”
  • “2020 Coronavirus Protection Coronavirus Protection Clearance Sale”
  • “A Powerful, Green, Non-Toxic Solution Proven to Inactivate our current viral strain”
  • “Epidemic Prevention”
  • “Efficient disinfection to prevent the spread of disease”
  • “Help keep your family and those you care for healthy”
  • “Nontoxic causes no permanent injuries”
  • “Ingredients are biodegradable and have no harmful impact on the environment”
  • “There is no damage to the environment”
  • “You can easily purify the living environment”
  • “Safe for all people using”
  • “Gentle to Child & Pets”
  • “Chemical Free”

The EPA in April warned a number of e-commerce platforms including Facebook, eBay, Alibaba, Shopify, Qoo10, JoyBuy.com, Wish.com and banggood.com of the risks of selling illegal disinfectant products.

Browsing the eBay webpage / iStock

Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of counterfeit finder and app Fakespot, told FOX Business in March that consumers should be aware of counterfeit respiratory masks, gloves, sanitizer and other COVID-19 products being sold on Amazon every day.

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"People are relying on Amazon right now," Khalifah said of the many high-demand household products people are buying on the platform, but he added that bad actors "are capitalizing on the news and trends of today" by attempting to sell these counterfeit products.

Amazon and eBay, both of which have millions of item listings on their platforms, have policies that prohibit the sale of counterfeit products.

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