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U.S. EPA calls on eight technology companies to address fraudulent COVID-19 disinfectants

04/23/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (April 23, 2020) —  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is advising eight technology companies that unscrupulous dealers are using their platforms to sell illegal disinfectant products. The companies include Facebook, Ebay, Alibaba, Shopify, Qoo10, JoyBuy.com, Wish.com and banggood.com.

“EPA takes our responsibility to protect Americans from fraudulent surface disinfectants seriously,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Earlier this month I met with online retailers and third-party platforms to ask for their help in preventing these impostor products from coming to market. Today, we are advising eight companies to take action against these dishonest dealers and immediately take these illegal products off of their sites.”

“Unregistered disinfectants can put consumers at risk, as they may be ineffective against the virus that causes COVID-19,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “EPA is working hard to stop the sale of these illegal products. We also urge consumers to see EPA’s list of approved disinfectant products, available on our website at epa.gov/coronavirus.”

“EPA is vigorously investigating fraudulent disinfectant sales to the public via online marketplaces,” said EPA Region 9 Administrator John Busterud. “Companies cannot sell illegal disinfectants and jeopardize our collective efforts to protect public health.”

EPA has remained actively engaged with U.S. retailers and third-party marketplace platforms to prevent products with unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous claims of protection against the coronavirus from coming to market. Earlier this month, the agency – working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection – announced it prevented several shipments of an illegal health product from entering U.S. Pacific ports.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), products that claim to kill or repel viruses, bacteria or other germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. Disinfectants and antimicrobial products claiming to control, prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate the virus that causes COVID-19 are thus regulated under FIFRA.

EPA frequently updates its list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains more than 370 products—including products that went through the expedited review process for emerging viral pathogens. To view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA. Products not registered by EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs.

For more information on pesticide registration, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration