EPA Tells eBay, Amazon: Stop Selling Fake COVID Killers

EPA Tells eBay and Amazon to Stop Selling Fake COVID Killers

On June 10, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued orders to eBay and Amazon directing them to immediately stop the sale or distribution of over 30 different types of pesticide products that are unregistered, misbranded, or classified for restricted-use.

Included in the orders were several products allegedly marketed with false or misleading claims of efficacy against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

The agency said, “As two of the largest e-commerce marketplaces, both companies oversee millions of product listings, thru either direct or third-party sales.”

The agency said it had discussed its concerns with eBay, Amazon, and other online marketplaces in April, but, “despite those discussions, Amazon and eBay have thus far failed to consistently keep unregistered, misbranded, or restricted-use pesticides, and pesticide devices off their websites,” it said in a press release issued today.

The EPA also took issue with the labeling of certain products that it said included the following violative statements:

“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 pointed to examples of the products it said it found on the marketplaces: in the case of Amazon, a product containing Chlorine Dioxide that are allegedly being sold with unprovable claims of sanitizing and disinfecting hospitals, offices and homes; and in the case of eBay, 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,” it stated.

The agency’s press release and more information are found on the EPA.gov website.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She’s a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.