Amazon Faces Lawsuit For Allegedly Selling "Suicide Kits" To Teenagers
Amazon extended "deepest condolences" to families affected by suicide and said that customer safety was a top priority for the firm.
Amazon is facing a lawsuit accusing it of selling so-called "suicide kits" to teenagers. Two families who lost children to suicide brought a lawsuit against the e-commerce giant, asserting that teenagers bought a deadly chemical on the company's website and later used it to take their own lives.
As per The Independent, the parents of 16-year-old Kristine Jonsson and parents of 17-year-old Ethan McCarthy argued that the retail giant is partly responsible for the deaths of their kids because sodium nitrite, a food preservative that is fatal at high levels of purity, was sold on the site. The complaint was filed in California state court last month.
The lawsuit claimed that Amazon recommended that customers who purchased the chemical also buy a scale to measure the correct dose, an anti-vomiting drug and "'Amazon edition' of the Peaceful Pill Handbook which contains a chapter with instructions on how to administer these ingredients together to die".
"Amazon is selling a product that is as deadly as cyanide," Carrie Goldberg and Naomi Leeds, two attorneys for the families, said in a statement, as per The Independent.
"This is different from them selling rope, knives, or other implements that can be used for death because there is no household use for [the chemical] at the level of purity it sells it," the lawyers added.
Sodium nitrite is used at low concentrations in commercial food preparation, however, those who consume too much can experience trouble breathing, abdominal pain, or even die. Ms Goldberg stated that some examples of the chemical being sold by Amazon have a high purity level, meaning it is highly toxic.
The attorney also noted that their law firm had filed a similar complaint in Washington earlier this year as well, which stated that the e-commerce giant sold the same drug to two others who used it to die by suicide.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Independent, Amazon extended "deepest condolences" to families affected by suicide and said that customer safety was a top priority for the firm. The company also added that it requires sellers to follow all applicable laws and regulations.
Further, a spokesperson for the company explained that the chemical is a "legal and widely-used product" as it is usually used in food and in laboratories as a reagent. "(The chemical) is not intended for consumption, and unfortunately, like many products, it can be misused," the spokesperson added.
As per the lawsuit, a company called Loudwolf produced the chemical, which is no longer available on the site. It also stated that Amazon sold ads to a brand of the antidote on several pages for the chemical, however, the Loudwolf page didn't mention the antidote.