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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Sends Letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Calling for His Company to Remove Unsafe, Banned or Deceptively Labeled Products

Aug 29, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) today sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging him to remove recalled and unsafe products, and to implement critical safety reforms, following disturbing reports that items found on the Amazon Marketplace are non-compliant with federal regulations.
 
“These revelations about Amazon are shocking and deeply troubling,” said Meng. “The company must immediately remove items that are unsafe, banned or deceptively labeled, and create a plan to increase transparency and product monitoring. Most disturbing is the reported sale of toys and medications that lack warnings about health risks to children. Nothing is more important than protecting our kids. As a mother of two young boys and a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, I believe that we must do everything possible to keep children out of harm’s way, and that includes stopping Amazon from selling these types of products. I await answers from Jeff Bezos.”  
 
The text of Meng’s letter is below and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here.
 
----------------------------------
 
Jeffrey Bezos
Founder and CEO
Amazon.com, Inc.
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
 
Dear Mr. Bezos,
 
I write to address the disturbing reports that items found on the Amazon Marketplace are non-compliant with federal regulations. As such, I urge you create more transparency in your Marketplace and create plans to remove recalled or unsafe products.  
 
I am deeply concerned over investigations[1] that found 4,152 items for sale on your website have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled, or banned by federal regulators. Among these items, at least 2,000 toys and medications lack warnings about health risks to kids. Of the reported cases, one included the lead poisoning of a child from New York City who likely ingested lead from a musical-instrument set purchased on Amazon. Testing showed that this set contained 411 times the lead legally allowed. Further, this investigation found that products that have been recalled by manufacturers remain for sale on your Marketplace. This is simply unacceptable, and I am appalled that such products are still purchasable on your site.
 
Amazon is a trusted name in the market, and consumers around the world rely on your brand to know that the products they are purchasing are safe. This is doubly true for busy parents who use Amazon to expeditiously order necessities for households in an otherwise chaotic season of life. Busy parents, however, need to be able to rely on the safety of products they buy. Amazon’s spokespeople have claimed, “Safety is a top priority at Amazon.”[2] As the company whose sales far and away represent the biggest share of the online retail market, I urge you to implement safety reforms that reflect this statement. 
 
For that reason, I request answers to the following questions: 
 
·      Will you cease to sell products on the Amazon Marketplace that have been recalled by their manufacturers for safety concerns?
·      What is your timeline and process to ensure these products are entirely and promptly removed from your Marketplace? 
·      How will you create more transparency to help customers understand which products on your Marketplace are sold by third-party companies?
·      How will you increase the monitoring of products being listed falsely as FDA compliant?
 
As the founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Kids Safety Caucus, I am committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our children. I sincerely hope that you will do all that you can to do the same.
 
Thank you for your attention to this issue. I look forward to your response. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Grace Meng
Member of Congress