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Enforcement

Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Orders issued to Amazon.com Services LLC

On June 10, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or “the Agency”) issued an order to Amazon.com Services LLC (Amazon), directing the company to immediately stop the sale or distribution of over 30 different pesticide products and devices on its website that are unregistered and/or misbranded.

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Overview

Amazon, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is the largest online retailer and distributor of consumer goods in the United States with nearly 300 million active customers and over 350 million unique products.  Many of these products are pesticides and devices regulated by FIFRA. The products subject to the order include, personal defense sprays, antimicrobials, disinfectants, sanitizers, dehumidifiers, insect traps, and pest repellers.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. §§ 136-136y, all pesticides must be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before being distributed or sold in the United States. “To distribute or sell” is a term defined by FIFRA to include distributing, selling, offering for sale, offering to deliver, shipping, etc. In addition to unregistered pesticides, FIFRA also prohibits the distribution or sale of pesticides and devices that are misbranded. The term “misbranded” applies to pesticides with false or misleading claims and pesticides with labels missing certain required information, for example ingredients, precautionary statements, and adequate directions for use. These provisions are meant to minimize risks to consumers and the environment associated with using the products. Pesticides not registered with the EPA have not undergone the Agency’s evaluation for safety and efficacy. Pesticides claiming to control viruses, bacteria 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.

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Basis for the Order

Beginning in December 2019, Region 10 reviewed information from tips and complaints and conducted its own investigation of pesticide products being distributed or sold on Amazon.com in violation of FIFRA. Based on the results of these efforts, the EPA has reason to believe Amazon had been distributing or selling, and intended to continue distributing and selling, unregistered pesticides and misbranded pesticides and devices in violation of Sections 12(a)(1)(A), 12(a)(1)(E) and 12(a)(1)(F) of FIFRA, 7 U.S.C. §§ 136j(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(E) and (a)(1)(F). Specifically, the EPA documented Amazon was distributing or selling FIFRA regulated pesticides that were not registered with the Agency (including some with claims for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and pesticides and devices with false or misleading claims on the product labeling.

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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 or device in their ownership, custody, or control whenever there is reason to believe that such pesticide or device is in violation of any provision of FIFRA, or that such pesticide or device has been, or is intended to be, distributed or sold in violation of any provision of the Act.

Pursuant to the authority in Section 13 of FIFRA, the EPA ordered Amazon to immediately cease the sale, use, or removal of the products listed in Attachment A to the SSURO under its ownership, control or custody, wherever they are located. The SSURO also prohibits Amazon from using, selling, offering for sale, holding for sale, shipping, delivering for shipment, moving or removing for disposal from any facility or establishment, the subject products for any reason, unless approved by EPA in writing. The SSURO shall remain in effect unless and until revoked, terminated, suspended or modified in writing by EPA.

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

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For more information, contact:

Brett Dugan
U.S. EPA Region 10
Mail Stop 11-C07
1200 Sixth Ave., Suite 155
Seattle, WA 98101
dugan.brett@epa.gov

Bill Dunbar
U.S. EPA Region 10
Mail Stop 12-D12
1200 Sixth Ave., Suite 155
Seattle, WA 98101
dunbar.bill@epa.gov

Chad Schulze
U.S. EPA Region 10
Mail Stop 20-C04
1200 Sixth Ave., Suite 155
Seattle, WA 98101
schulze.chad@epa.gov

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