A drone with an Amazon package floats in front of the Amazon logistics center in Leipzig, Germany, 28 October 2014. Amazon did not comment on whether drones will fuel this default one-day speed boost for paying Amazon Prime subscribers' deliveries.

Enlarge / A drone with an Amazon package floats in front of the Amazon logistics center in Leipzig, Germany, 28 October 2014. Amazon did not comment on whether drones will fuel this default one-day speed boost for paying Amazon Prime subscribers' deliveries. (credit: Alamy / dpa Picture Alliance)

Amazon is by far the biggest US online retailer. In the past 20 years it has leapt past its origins as a website you could order books from to become, among other things, the everything store—one-stop shopping for all physical and digital goods from A to Z.

The company's explosive growth is due in part to its sprawling third-party merchant marketplace. Many marketplace merchants are indeed above-board retailers, manufacturers, and resellers. But thousands more sell not only counterfeit items, but also mislabeled, unsafe, recalled, or even banned items that can put consumers—especially children—in serious danger.

The Wall Street Journal identified more than 4,100 such products for sale on Amazon.com during the course of a months-long investigation, and at least 2,000 are toys or medications that fail to include warnings about risks to children.

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