U.S. regulators are playing an aggressive game of catch-up as they grapple with how to apply environmental laws, many enacted decades ago, to e-commerce businesses.
In a July 5 press release, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency described its latest issuance of a stop-sale order for products sold on the e-commerce site of ContextLogic Inc., doing business as Wish, which the EPA alleges constitute unregistered disinfectant products.
This follows other enforcement actions the EPA has taken since the COVID-19 pandemic against products claiming to be effective as disinfectants, among other types of products.
Publicly reported data shows overall heightened enforcement activity related to pesticides in recent years. The potential for criminal charges for violations of pesticide laws, with several prosecutions occurring since the pandemic, highlights the importance of compliance.
E-commerce sales involving pesticides in particular have garnered increased scrutiny in recent years as enforcement agencies shift their focus from brick-and-mortar sellers to those doing business online.
This intensified focus makes it timely for online sellers of pesticides or pesticide devices in the U.S. to assess their compliance programs with an eye toward identifying and mitigating any risks that could lead to liability under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA, and similar state laws.