Amazon Policies & EPA Regulations: How Amazon Sellers Can Avoid Pesticide Violations
An issue that has plagued many Amazon sellers is getting flagged for pesticide violations. Pesticides are a restricted product on the platform that are also heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To start, what are pesticides? A pesticide is defined as any product intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, or any product intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. In addition, the product claims to be an antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, anti mold, or a pesticide.
As you can see, the definition covers a fairly large range. Amazon makes quite more than a few mistakes when it comes to distinguishing between what is actually a pesticide claim and what’s not. This article explores some common issues and tips for how to avoid them…
Tip number one: don’t use the term ‘antimicrobial’ when you actually mean ‘antibacterial’ or ‘fights against germs’.
It’s understandable why these terms may be used interchangeably. They have a similar relationship as water and the ocean do. All of the ocean is water, but not all water is in the ocean. Antibacterial is the ocean in this situation; it’s a specific type of antimicrobial that prevents bacteria from forming or destroys germs that are already there. It’s common in products like soap and hand sanitizer. On the other hand, antimicrobial is water in general, spanning a much broader definition. It not only prevents and destroys bacteria, but also fungi, parasites, algae, dust-mites, and certain viruses. It is a term that should be reserved for more heavy-duty products, like the pesticides we’re discussing.
Tip number two: though it sounds simple to avoid making claims to prevent, kill or destroy pests, we see many sellers do just that.
If you wish to describe your product this way, you’ll first need to register it with the EPA. To do so is a lengthy scientific, legal and administrative procedure where every aspect of the product is thoroughly examined, including the ingredients, the particular site or crop where it’s meant to be used, and the amount, frequency and timing of use. You must provide detailed data from studies that test the potential human health and environmental effects, and then send your product through a series of risk assessments that evaluate the potential for things such as potential harm to various living things and how it may contaminate surface or groundwater. The next step is to get approval from Amazon to sell the product in its restricted category. Again, you must follow the process exactly by first registering with the EPA and then getting approval to list from Amazon. Otherwise, Amazon will happily suspend your product, or possibly even your account.
Tips number three and four: avoid using pest images on your label and terminology that could potentially confuse Amazon. What terminology could possibly confuse Amazon, you may ask? You’re probably not expecting us to tell you that a seller was once flagged for having the name of an insect as the title of their book. Yes, they were flagged for naming their book after an insect and Amazon flagged them for selling the restricted product pesticide. Since that was an obvious mistake, it wasn’t too difficult to get them reinstated, but most cases aren’t so clear cut. Not to mention that Amazon isn’t the best at rectifying mistakes they make a great deal of the time. It’s better to just try to avoid situations like this as best as you can.
It’s sometimes impossible to avoid being flagged on Amazon, even if you’ve done nothing wrong at all. When it comes to restricted products such as pesticides, it’s best to be fully educated on the do’s and don’ts set up by Amazon and just try your best to follow their policies.