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Profit or profiteering? Amazon and eBay mislead wide range of pesticides claims

Progressive Forage Editor Lynn Jaynes Published on 11 June 2020

Internet buying makes it all too easy to push products on unsuspecting public – and Amazon and eBay got caught.

On June 11, 2020, the EPA ordered Amazon and eBay to stop selling a wide range of pesticides. The EPA said the products are unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use pesticides and make false or misleading claims. 

What are those claims? Here are a few:

  • “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 press release states: 

A particularly egregious example of the products found on Amazon is a product containing chlorine dioxide. There are several versions of the product that keep appearing on the Amazon site each with very little to no English-language instructions. The products are being sold with unprovable claims of sanitizing and disinfecting hospitals, offices and homes.

Product listings on eBay.com included 55-gallon drums of methylene chloride that were marketed for use as a coronavirus disinfectant and paint stripper. Not only is methylene chloride unapproved for use against the novel coronavirus, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, EPA banned the retail sale of methylene chloride to consumers for paint removal purposes due to acute fatalities that resulted from exposure to the chemical.

Products subject to the order include surface sanitizers and disinfectants, cockroach bait, insecticidal chalk and agricultural pesticides classified for restricted use. 

The Amazon stop-sale order can be found here and the eBay stop-sale order can be found here.  end mark

Lynn Jaynes
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