EPA orders Amazon to stop illegal pesticide sales, again


February 12, 2021

PHOTO: iStock.com/smartstock


Once again, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Amazon to stop the sale of pesticides that are not registered, misbranded, or restricted-use, and pesticide devices with misleading or false claims. Included in the order are products that make false or misleading claims about their effectiveness against viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

The order, issued by the EPA on Feb. 9, is a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO), prohibiting the sale, use or removal of pesticides that violate the Federal insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). A SSURO is one of several steps the EPA may take to enforce FIFRA violations; others include seizures, injunctions, civil penalties and recalls.

This action adds 70 products to a previous order from June 6, 2020, which included more than 30 products. According to a news release from the EPA, this is the third pesticide stop sale order issued by the agency to Amazon in the last three years.

“Unregistered pesticides in the e-commerce marketplace pose a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets and others exposed to the products,” Ed Kowalski, director of the Enforcement Compliance Assurance Division in EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle, Wash., said in the news release.



As Pest Management Professional (PMP) reported at the time, Amazon settled with the EPA in 2018. The agency accused the online retailer of violating FIFRA nearly 4,000 times over five years by selling and distributing pesticide products not licensed for sale in the United States.

As Dr. Jim Fredericks, the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) VP of technical and regulatory affairs, noted in his January 2020 “Callback Cures” column for PMP, the pest management industry also is fighting the sale and use of these pesticides. The Internet Sales of Illegal, Counterfeit and Adulterated Pesticides (IICAP) task force consisting of representatives from the NPMA, the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO), Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) was convened to encourage cooperation among states to combat illegal online sales.

Dr. Fredericks recommends pest management professionals who are unsure about a pesticide or rodenticide purchased online stop using the product and immediately report it to the product registrant.

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About the Author

Photo courtesy of Danielle Pesta

Danielle Pesta is the senior digital media manager at North Coast Media, the parent company of PMP magazine. She can be reached at dpesta@northcoastmedia.net.

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