Amazon.com is quickly becoming the world’s marketplace, with sky-high earnings in the United States, continued innovation and branches in countries around the world selling countless goods ranging from electronics to food products and everything in between.
But despite its extreme convenience and the benefits its services provide, the company is also rife with potential troublemakers due to the sheer size of its operations.
Recently, the EPA and Amazon ended up at odds over a situation in which the company was charged with over 4,000 counts relating to the sale of illegal pesticides, and now the two sides have settled the case after the company was warned that it needs to do a better job protecting customers.
Settlement Reached for Over $1 Million with Amazon in Pesticides Case
According to this press release from EPA.gov, the agency has announced an agreement with Amazon.com to “protect the public from the hazards posed by unregistered and misbranded pesticide products.” A fine of over $1.2 million was also assessed (although this is a drop in the bucket for the massive retailer).
The agreement settles allegations that Amazon committed over 4,000 violations of the “Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act” dating back to 2013 for selling and distributing imported pesticide products that were not licensed for sale in the United States.
The situation underscores the abundance of harsh, toxic chemical pesticides being used the world over, even though the United Nations recently came out with a report stating that chemical, synthetic pesticides are not needed to “feed the world” as Monsanto and other agrochemical companies routinely posit. An estimated 200,000 deaths occur from acute pesticide poisoning each year.
“This agreement will dramatically reduce the online sale of illegal pesticides, which pose serious threats to public health in communities across America,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick according to the release. “Amazon is committed to closely monitoring and removing illegal pesticides from its website, and EPA will continue to work hard to ensure these harmful products never reach the marketplace.”
Amazon Must Take Steps to Reduce Illegal Pesticide Sales
A training course will now be developed by Amazon in order to significantly reduce the number of illegal pesticides available through the online marketplace, the release also stated. It will be provided to marketers in English, Spanish and Chinese in order to prevent further misdeeds.
This training will be mandatory for anyone wishing to sell pesticides on Amazon.com.
The discovery of illegal pesticide sales was made through an investigation in Lexington, Kentucky and other locations during which an illegal pesticide purchase was made by EPA officials, the release continued.
Refunds have been issued and purchasers have been urged to dump their products out for safety reasons.
For more information on how to avoid illegal pesticide products, you can check out the EPA’s guide by clicking on this link.
Amazon.com and Dangerous Products
Considering the huge scope of the Amazon.com retail empire and the lack of oversight on many of these products, it’s important to keep this case in mind and make sure you know what you’re getting whenever you buy online.
Some customers for example have reported ordering doctored or watered-down essential oils and other health products on the site, considering that it is quite easy for anyone to make a listing. Illegal products such as the aforementioned pesticides and other questionable products have also been reported.
And as the EPA’s relatively small fine demonstrates, it’s important to know just how little incentive a multi-billion dollar company like Amazon has to attempt to prevent these incidents, even if they get caught.
Buyer beware, and make sure you know what you’re getting the next time you purchase on Amazon (be sure to avoid toxic pesticides while you’re at it, too).
Photo via Access Washington.