Amazon has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Washington state attorney general's office claiming the company allowed industrial-grade pesticides to be sold illegally through its online marketplace.
The pesticides at issue were highly regulated, and in some cases, not available for sale to the general public. Under state law, sellers must hold licenses to sell them and record information about the buyers at the time of sale. For the most dangerous pesticides, the buyer must also be licensed as a pesticide applicator.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly investigated pesticide sales on Amazon, garnering a $1.2 million settlement in 2018.
Amazon facilitated thousands of sales involving the high-strength pesticides between 2013 and 2020, when the company suspended all restricted pesticide sales, attorneys for the state claimed. Amazon failed to inform customers that the agricultural and industrial-use pesticides were different from broadly available products, creating an impression that anyone could buy and use them, the state contended.
"Amazon is a powerful corporation -- but it's not above the law," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.