Consumer Fraud Center Urges Amazon to Halt Uninspected

Consumer Fraud Center Urges Amazon to Halt Uninspected Shipments From
China Into Its Warehouses Because of Threat of Carcinogens 
Action Urged on Heels of Warning From Environmental Advocacy Group 
SANTA MONICA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/11/12 --  Coming on the heels
of a legal action launched by an environmental advocacy group against
several major retailers concerning the presence of suspected
carcinogens in baby products, the Consumer Fraud Center today joined
in urging, Inc. discontinue the practice of allowing
direct shipments of products from China into its warehousing and
distribution system without inspections for environmental hazards,
especially in light of the growing proliferation of counterfeit and
illicit goods being sold online. 
"The practice of allowing direct shipments of goods from China into
Amazon's warehousing and distribution system without inspection or
control is one of the most vulnerable spots in the consumer safety
net protecting shoppers from potentially cancer-causing or dangerous
goods," said James Lee, executive director for the Consumer Fraud
Center. "With the growth of counterfeit goods made cheaply and with
dangerous chemicals, consumers and their families are at significant
risk unless retailers such as Amazon take more aggressive steps in
safeguarding them." 
Last week the Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland-based
environmental advocacy group, launched legal action against several
major retailers, including Amazon, urging them to recall baby
products such as diaper-changing pads, nap mats and foam products
containing unsafe levels of a flame retardant linked to cancer in
violation of California's Prop. 65 standards and the federal Toxic
Substances Control Act, and to provide consumers with warning
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) conducted independent tests
of nap mats, changing pads, crib mattress pads, infant sleepers, and
other foam products for infants and young children and found they
contained high levels of the cancer-causing flame retardant chemical
chlorinated Tris (tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate or TDCPP), in
excess of the safety standard set by California consumer protection
"We are particularly concerned with Amazon's announced expansion of
its Amazon Pages program, making it even easier for any retailer to
set up storefronts and direct ship goods into Amazon's distribution
system without any warnings to consumers or inspection of these
goods," Lee said. "This practice provides a perfect storm of
opportunity for the importation and sale of goods that may be
contaminated with carcinogens or other toxic chemicals." 
This follows a similar study by the environmental group Greenpeace
last month which found popular fashion apparel contaminated with
hazardous chemicals from the Nonylphenol (NPE) family that break down
to form hormone-disrupting or even cancer-causing chemicals when
released into the environment. Not only are the brands with the
highest NPE concentrations sold widely on Amazon, but, even more
troublingly, counterfeit versions are also sold through the site. 
Within hours of the CEH's legal initiative, Wal-Mart announced that
it was redoubling its efforts to safeguard California consumers. Lee
specifically commended Wal-Mart, along with several other retailers
and clothing manufacturers, for taking proactive steps to address the
issue of contaminated and counterfeit goods, urging Amazon to follow
the lead of corporate responsibility. Lee pointed out China's long
and troubled history with contaminated consumer goods including: 

--  In 2006, the use of Chinese-manufactured drywall used in home
    construction was halted because of the presence of radioactive
--  In 2007, Pet foods containing Chinese-manufactured wheat gluten
    contaminated with melamine were recalled throughout North America and
    Europe after Americans reported the deaths of 4,000 pets;
--  In 2008, the sale of melamine-contaminated dairy products sickened
    300,000 people in China and killed six infants, as well as prompted
    recalls and consumer warnings in the U.S. by the federal Food and Drug
    Administration; and
--  As recently as this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers
    seized at the port of Los Angeles nearly 36,000 Chinese-made rubber
    ducks, which contained unsafe levels of a phthalate, a chemical used
    to make vinyl and plastics soft and flexible, but has been linked to
    birth defects, early puberty, infertility, asthma, ADHD, obesity and
    diabetes in children.

Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of
1986, was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The
Proposition was intended by its authors to protect California
citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known
to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to
inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals through the
publication of an annual list of chemicals known to cause cancer or
reproductive toxicity. Tris is on the list. 
"We strongly urge Amazon to stop stalling and get on the consumer
safety bandwagon, or it may find that government regulators will have
to force its hand and put a halt to the sale of uninspected goods
through its Amazon Pages and Fulfillment by Amazon programs," Lee
said. "At the very least, we call on Amazon to beef up its warning
disclaimers and help consumers make better-informed decisions when
shopping on its site." 
The Consumer Fraud Center
 The Consumer Fraud Center is dedicated to
uncovering the use of legitimate online portals and shopping
destinations for the sale of counterfeit and fraudulent consumer
goods and products. It relies on its network of activated consumers
who submit reports on counterfeit goods sold on websites to create a
national database of products searchable by consumers, media and law
enforcement. For more information, please visit us at 
James Lee
Media Relations Office
(424) 888-0770 
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