Amazon to Pay California Regulator Nearly $5M for Sale of Illegal Pesticides

Late last week, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced an agreement with Services LLC over its sale of illegal pesticides in California, its failure to report and pay required “mill assessment” fees , and its failure to hold a valid pesticide broker license. Under the terms of the non-publicized agreement, Amazon will pay the DPR a total of $4.97 million.

The agency, whose mission is to “protect[] human health and the environment by fostering safer and sustainable pest management practices and operating a robust regulatory system to evaluate and register pesticides and monitor and regulate their sale and use across the state,” said that the DPR’s company review yielded multiple violations posing risks to Californians and their environment. 

The agency explained that under California law, pesticides must be registered and evaluated before sale. The DPR also regulates usage by setting limits and requiring pesticide sellers to pay mill assessment fees which helps fund DPR programs including worker safety training and environmental monitoring and enforcement. The assessment also permits the DPR to track pesticides sold in the state.

Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon will pay $3.69 million in unpaid pesticide sales assessment fees and accompanying late penalties and $1.28 million in civil penalties associated with retail sales of unregistered pesticides into California. The retail giant also promised to register as a pesticide broker and to report and pay mill assessment fees associated with all future retail sales of registered pesticides into California.

“It is critical that those selling pesticides in California, especially companies with Amazon’s resources, reach and influence, comply with pesticide laws that protect the health of all Californians and our environment,” said DPR Director Julie Henderson in a statement. “DPR’s action should send a message to all pesticide sellers, including online sellers, that California will take action to protect the health and safety of its people and environment.”