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US sues eBay over selling products that can severely harm human health, environment

IANS | September 28, 2023 11:39 AM

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has sued e-commerce platform eBay, accusing it of “unlawfully selling and distributing hundreds of thousands” of products that threaten the environment and public health.

The complaint alleges that eBay sold, offered for sale or caused the sale of more than 343, 000 aftermarket defeat devices, which defeat motor vehicle emission controls, a violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Aftermarket defeat devices significantly increase pollution emissions -- including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and nonmethane hydrocarbons -- that harm public health and impede efforts by the EPA, states, Tribes and local agencies to plan for and attain air quality standards.

The complaint also alleged that eBay has violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by unlawfully distributing or selling at least 23, 000 unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use pesticide products.

Finally, the complaint alleges that eBay has distributed over 5, 600 items in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Methylene Chloride Rule.

The rule prohibits retailers from distributing in commerce products that contain methylene chloride for paint and coating removal to prevent unreasonable risks, including death, presented by these types of products.

“Laws that prohibit selling products that can severely harm human health and the environment apply to e-commerce retailers like eBay just as they do to brick-and-mortar stores, ” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim.

“eBay’s sale of emission control defeat devices, pesticides and other unsafe products poses unacceptable risks to our communities disproportionately impacted by environmental and health hazards, ” added US Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York.

In response, eBay said that it “intends to vigorously defend itself” against the lawsuit.

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