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EPA orders San Francisco-based Wish to stop selling illegal, unregistered disinfectants

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The federal government ordered San Francisco-based e-commerce site Wish on Tuesday to stop selling illegal and unregistered disinfectants on its online marketplace.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a press release it issued a "stop sale" to ContextLogic, Inc. doing business as Wish, for products that make unverified claims of effectiveness against viruses, bacteria, and germs. The EPA said such practices have been particularly problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public health claims for disinfectants can only be made following proper testing and registration with the EPA, which has to determine that the product is indeed effective against germs and will not pose an unreasonable risk to human health when used according to the label directions. 

Some of the products sold on the Wish e-commerce site which are the subject of a stop-sale order from the EPA. EPA

"As our nation continues to grapple with COVID-19, today's stop sale order is critical to protecting Americans from misleading and harmful claims from a large e-commerce platform," said a statement from EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. "EPA remains vigilant and will keep removing these illegal disinfectants from circulation."

Among the products sold on Wish under various names included "air sterilization cards" and "degerming cards," which claim to be a "spatial disinfection card" that would provide portable virus and germ protection, the EPA said. In addition, the product label and directions for use are not provided in English as required by law.

Other products containing chlorine dioxide are being sold with unprovable claims of being able to sanitize and disinfect hospitals, schools, hotels, and homes. Other spray products also have labeling that lacks information required by law, such as directions for use.


In an emailed statement to CBS News San Francisco, a Wish spokesperson said, "ContextLogic Inc. d/b/a "Wish" is in receipt of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") Order concerning certain unregistered disinfectant products listed by third-party Merchants on the Wish marketplace. ContextLogic does not itself sell or distribute the subject products, and its policies prohibit Merchants from listing disinfectants that are not registered with the EPA. Wish looks forward to cooperating with the EPA regarding its recent Order."

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