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Enforcement

Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order issued to eBay, Inc.

On June 10, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or “the Agency”) issued an order to eBay, Inc. (eBay), directing the company to immediately stop the sale or distribution of over 40 different types of pesticide products on its website that are unregistered, misbranded, or classified for restricted-use.

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Overview

eBay is a corporation headquartered in California that operates and controls the interactive e-commerce website eBay.com. This order is being issued to address unlawful pesticide sales to U.S. consumers on eBay’s website. Products subject to the order include, among other things, surface sanitizers and disinfectants, cockroach killing bait powers, insecticidal chalk, and agricultural pesticides classified for restricted use. 

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA or “the Act”), 7 U.S.C. §§ 136-136y, prohibits the distribution or sale of pesticides that are not registered with the EPA, pesticides that make false or misleading claims (i.e., misbranded), or pesticides that are classified for restricted use when distributed or sold to persons not authorized to receive or purchase them. These provisions are meant to minimize risks to consumers and the environment associated with the handling and application of pesticides. Pesticides not registered with the EPA have not undergone the Agency’s evaluation for the potential for health and ecological effects of a pesticide. Pesticides claiming to control viruses, or any other human pathogens, are subject to heightened scrutiny and data requirements by the EPA in order to ensure that the product is safe and effective. Pesticides that make claims not approved by the EPA for use against human pathogens are misbranded. Pesticides classified for restricted-use are not available for purchase or use by the general public due to their potential to cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders without added restrictions. 

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Basis for the Order

Beginning in March 2018, the EPA received tips and complaints of pesticides being distributed or sold on eBay.com in violation of FIFRA. Subsequently, the EPA began collecting and reviewing additional information on product sales, inspecting offers for sale of pesticides on eBay.com, and purchasing product samples from the website. Based on the information collected, the EPA has reason to believe that eBay has been distributing or selling, and intended to continue distributing or selling, over 40 pesticides that were unregistered, misbranded, or that were classified for restricted-use in violation of Sections 12(a)(1)(A), 12(a)(1)(E) and 12(a)(2)(F) of FIFRA, 7 U.S.C. §§ 136j(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(E) and (a)(2)(F). Specifically, EPA documented FIFRA regulated pesticides that were not registered with the Agency, pesticides with unapproved claims for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and/or coronavirus, and pesticides that were classified for restricted-use, which are prohibited from being sold to the general public.

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Summary of the Order

Section 13(a) of FIFRA, 7 U.S.C. § 136k(a), authorizes the EPA to issue a Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order to any person with a pesticide in their ownership, custody, or control whenever there is reason to believe that such pesticide is in violation of any provision of FIFRA, or that such pesticide has been, or is intended to be, distributed or sold in violation of any provision of the Act.

Pursuant to this authority, EPA ordered eBay to immediately stop the sale of unregistered, misbranded, or restricted-use pesticides under its ownership, control, or custody, wherever such pesticide is located on eBay.com. The SSURO also prohibits eBay from using, selling, offering for sale, holding for sale, shipping, or delivering for shipment the subject pesticides for any reason, unless approved by the EPA in writing. The SSURO shall remain in effect unless and until revoked, terminated, suspended or modified in writing by the EPA.

For more information on the use of stop sale, use, or removal orders.

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For more information, contact:

Joseph Varco
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Mail Code 2249A
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-1791
varco.joseph@epa.gov

Christina Cobb
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Mail Code 2249A
Washington, DC 20460-0001
(202) 564-1798
cobb.christina@epa.gov

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