Amazon will pay $2.5 million in a settlement agreed upon in November 2021. The Washington State Attorney General’s office alleges that the company allowed vendors to sell industrial-grade pesticides on its platform. The case involves pesticides bought between 2013 and 2020, according to Bizjournal.com.
Pesticides Sold Online
Under Washington state law, these pesticides were highly regulated, and members of the general public cannot purchase them through regular channels. In fact, the state requires sellers to hold the appropriate licenses. Sellers must also record information about buyers at the point of sale. Some of the pesticides also require buyers to hold a license due to the hazardous nature of the pesticides. In those cases, buyers need a pesticide applicator license.
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered Amazon to stop sales of the pesticides and won a settlement for $1.2 million in 2018. During the time frame in question, the tech giant sold high-strength pesticides in thousands of sales. Product descriptions for the pesticides did not warn customers that they were meant for industrial and agricultural use.
Therefore, it is possible that people bought them without knowing that they were any different from other products for sale to homeowners and individuals.
Possible Neurological Damage
Some people purchasing the pesticides probably didn’t know about the potential dangers, which include the risk of neurological damage if used improperly. Additionally, these pesticides may have contaminated groundwater, putting numerous endangered species at further risk. Species potentially impacted by the unregulated sale include Orcas and Chinook salmon.
According to news stories on several outlets, no allegations of harm have yet been made regarding customers or threatened wildlife.
Amazon Will Need a License to Continue Sales
Besides paying the $2.5 million settlement, Amazon must get a license in order to sell the pesticides in the future. The online seller will also have to make a number of changes to block unqualified buyers from purchasing the pesticides, intentionally or otherwise. Thus far, Amazon has cooperated with the state’s request for records related to the case.
It’s possible that some customers bought the pesticides without understanding the risks involved. Customers who bought pesticides on Amazon between 2013 and 2020 should contact Amazon directly.