Amazon Loses Key Battle Over “Suicide Kits”

( Amazon’s motion for interlocutory review of its previous motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the retail giant’s sale of alleged “suicide kits” was denied last week, according to one of the plaintiff’s attorneys.

In September, attorneys filed a complaint in California state court on behalf of the parents of two teenagers who committed suicide using the chemical sodium nitrite purchased from Amazon.

Sodium nitrite is often used to cure meat. If ingested at high levels, it can prove fatal.

In the complaint, lawyers for the plaintiffs claimed Amazon recommended that customers purchasing the sodium nitrite also order a scale for measuring doses, an anti-vomiting drug, as well as a handbook on assisted suicide, according to NPR.

Lawyers argue that the sodium nitrite sold on Amazon is at such a high concentration that even the smallest amount can kill.

A previous complaint was filed in Washington state earlier last year by the same law firm. The complaint alleged that the online retail giant sold sodium nitrite to two other people, Mikael Scott, 27, and Tyler Muhleman, 17, both of whom also used the chemical to kill themselves.

Carrie Goldberg, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, tweeted on Friday, “The biggest corp in history of the world knowingly sold suicide product w/ no household use.” Goldberg said despite Amazon’s attempts to have the case dismissed, “the families have won at every stage.”

In a statement to NPR last October, Amazon said the chemical is a “widely-available” legal product sold by retailers “to preserve foods” and as a reagent in laboratories. The company said while the chemical is not sold for consumption, “like many products, it can be misused.”

Amazon offered condolences to the families affected by suicide and said consumer safety is a top priority for the company. It told NPR that Amazon sellers are required to follow all regulations and applicable laws.