When many consumers need pesticides, they head to sites like Amazon and eBay — especially due to the convenience of online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. The only problem is, until recently, some sellers were marketing unregistered, misbranded, or restricted-use pesticides, and pesticide devices that made false or misleading claims.

In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Amazon and eBay to stop the sale of a wide-variety of misleading pesticide products through both direct and third-party sales. This included several products that falsely claimed to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, which caused COVID-19. 

None of the pesticides in question were registered with the EPA, which is required for sale in the U.S. Additionally, some of the pesticides sold on eBay were classified for restricted use, making them illegal to sell to the general public at all.

Chlorine Dioxide

According to the EPA, several versions of a product containing Chlorine Dioxide have been found on the Amazon website. These products are being marketed to consumers with unproven claims of sanitizing and disinfecting hospitals, offices, and homes.

Not just a pesticide issue, in April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission also issued a joint warning letter to the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which was marketing chlorine dioxide products. The group was selling a “Miracle Mineral Solution” for preventing and treating COVID-19 in adults and children. Their website has since been shut down.

In a press release, the FDA noted that it is not aware of any scientific evidence supporting the safety or effectiveness of chlorine dioxide products, as they could cause significant health risks.

Methylene Chloride

According to the EPA, several product listings on eBay included Methylene Chloride, which is banned for retail sale to consumers for paint removal purposes under the Toxic Substances Control Act. This action was the result of acute fatalities caused by exposure to it.

On Nov. 22, 2019, the EPA issued a press release announcing a ban on the sale and distribution of paint removal products containing methylene chloride for consumer use, which began the next day. The agency encouraged consumers to stop using any products already purchased for paint and coating removal containing methylene chloride.

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