E-commerce giant eBay is facing a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, accused of selling "hundreds of thousands" of products that violate environmental protection laws.
The lawsuit alleges California-based eBay violated laws including the Clean Air Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; and the Toxic Substances Control Act. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The online secondary market eBay is facing a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, accused of selling "hundreds of thousands" of products that violate environmental protection laws.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a federal court in Brooklyn, alleges California-based eBay violated laws including the Clean Air Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
According to the suit, the e-commerce company sold or offered for sale more than 343,000 aftermarket defeat devices, a term for a range of parts or software that restrain or bypass required emissions controls. Such devices include filters and catalysts installed in an engine's exhaust system, a violation of the CAA.
"Aftermarket defeat devices significantly increase pollution emissions -- including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and nonmethane hydrocarbons -- that harm public health," the Justice Department said in a news release.
The use of such devices is considered tampering and can cause a vehicle to emit "hundreds to thousands of times more pollution" than it otherwise would, according to the EPA website.
Prosecutors said eBay violated FIFRA by selling at least 23,000 unregistered, misbranded or restricted-use pesticide products -- even after the EPA issued a stop order in 2020 that it amended in 2021.
"Examples include a high toxicity insecticide banned in the United States, restricted use pesticides that only certified applicators may apply, and products fraudulently claiming to protect users against the SARS-CoV-2 virus," the Justice Department said.
EBay was further accused of distributing more than 5,600 items containing deadly methylene chloride -- widely used as a solvent -- in violation of a rule that prevents retailers from distributing such products in which it is not authorized to be used.
"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 of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
"We are committed to preventing the unlawful sale and distribution of emissions-defeating devices and dangerous chemicals that, if used improperly, can lead to dire consequences for individuals and communities."