Amazon customers can sue over lack of toxic warnings, court says

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Amazon.com can be sued by customers for failing to warn buyers that some products it sells may contain toxic ingredients, according to a California court ruling.

The California Supreme Court turned down a request by Amazon's lawyers to review a lower court ruling that said Amazon violated the state's Proposition 65, which requires companies to warn consumers about products that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or birth defects.

Amazon warehouse. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

The case in question involved a lawsuit that said Amazon allowed skin-lightening creams to be sold on its website despite being aware of concerns about toxic mercury levels in the such creams.

Mercury can harm pregnant women and their babies. 

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The suit alleged that Amazon sold some of the products produced by third parties that contained mercury levels that were thousands of times the U.S. federal legal limit.

Amazon didn’t immediately comment on the Supreme Court’s action.

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Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

The ruling allows the previous court ruling to be used as precedent in state courts.

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A judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2019 saying Amazon was protected by a section of the federal Communications Decency Act that shields websites from liability for content posted by other parties.

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A state appeals court in March said Amazon doesn't merely act as a place for retailers to list their available merchandise but actively stores, sells and ships them.

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A drugstore that sold the same creams would be required to issue the warnings, the ruling said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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