Amazon does not spray its cartons with pesticides, are not dangerous for cats

The claim: Amazon is spraying its boxes with toxic pesticides harmful to cats

It’s no secret that cats love boxes. In July 2020, USA TODAY reported that as part of its “Less Packaging, More Smiles” initiative, Amazon has introduced a built-in play factor in its shipping boxes allowing them to transform into “cat condos”.

But a Facebook post says cat owners should be wary of Amazon boxes.

“Amazon sprays ALL cans with toxic pesticides to kill useous rodents (sic),” it reads the post of October 19. “If your cats play in Amazon boxes, they will be exposed and may get chemical burns on their tongue. Other symptoms include: fever, lethargic movements, shallow breathing, and sticky salivation.”

The post is shared with three images, one of which shows a cat’s tongue with what appears to be a chemical burn. He accumulated over 300,000 shares in a week, and similar versions of this Claim gathered hundreds of others.

But there is no truth in this statement. A company spokesperson told USA TODAY that Amazon’s shipping boxes are free of any rodenticides or insecticides.

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USA TODAY has contacted the user for comment.

Amazon boxes are not sprayed with pesticides

The claim that Amazon boxes are sprayed with chemicals harmful to cats first surfaced in December 2020. Fact-checking sites Snopes and Stories of lead independently debunked the claim, but it recently resurfaced online.

Amazon doesn’t spray any pesticides or disinfectants on the cans, Richard Rocha, the company’s senior public relations manager, told USA TODAY.

He said the corrugated boxes are made of wood pulp and wood pulp-based binders, in line with materials used by other box manufacturers. Rocha said Amazon does not use any special boxes and it is not sprayed for any reason.

USA TODAY has found no further evidence that sprays from this vein are used by packaging companies.

Brooke lujano, senior communications manager at Georgia-Pacific, a North American supplier of corrugated packaging, said the boxes made at Georgia-Pacific are not sprayed with any pesticides.

“Our facilities are treated for pest control in accordance with the food safety certifications we hold, but this treatment would not be applied to the boxes,” Lujano said.

Amy simpson, head of corporate communications at International Paper, a producer of fiber, pulp and paper packaging, also said his company does not apply pesticides to its corrugated boxes.

Rachel kenyon, Senior Vice President of the Fiber Box Association, a trade group in the carton box industry, told lead stories she was “not aware of any member company that deals with boxes with anything that could be harmful to pets.” The group did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

Amazon’s new boxes include instructions on how to turn them into cat condos.

Vets also said they were not aware of any reports of cats sick or injured by Amazon boxes.

“I am not aware of this problem, I have never seen this in clinical practice, or heard of it from other emergency vets,” said Anne-Marie Zollo, staff reviewer at Animal Medical Center in New York. “There are many possible causes of mouth ulcers in cats, and if your cat develops ulcers or mouth sores, it is very important to work with your veterinarian to determine the underlying reason.”

Laura Fourniotis, spokesperson for Blue Pearl, a national network of emergency pet hospitals, also told lead stories the group was not aware of any such reports.

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Our rating: False

Based on our research, we deem FALSE the claim that Amazon sprays its cans with toxic pesticides that are harmful to cats. A company spokesperson told USA TODAY that Amazon packaging boxes are not sprayed with any pesticides or disinfectants. Interviews with veterinarians and people working in the cardboard box industry also revealed no evidence for this claim.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact Check: Amazon Cans Won’t Spray Pesticides, Not Harmful To Cats

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