Fitbit is issuing a recall for their Force health tracker wrist band product due to the number of users complaining that tracker gave them a skin rash.
The Force is an upgraded version of Fitbit’s popular Flex band and was released in October 2013. However, as early as the end of 2013, users began reporting rashes and complaining to Fitbit.
Fitbit issued a statement saying, “From the beginning, we have taken this matter very seriously. We hired independent labs and medical experts to conduct a thorough investigation. Here’s what we know:
- Independent test results have not found any issues with the battery or electrical systems.
- Test results show that users are likely experiencing allergic contact dermatitis.
- All Force materials are commonly used in consumer products. However, some users may be reacting to the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel used in the device. Other users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to assemble the product.
“We have stopped selling Force and have decided to conduct a voluntary recall,” Chief Executive James Park wrote on the company’s blog Friday. Park noted that only 1.7 percent of owners have officially reported skin issues, adding that “the materials used in Force are commonly found in many consumer products, and affected users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to these materials.”
Those materials could be anything from the trace amounts of nickel used in the stainless steel components of the device, the latex-free elastomer materials used to craft the wristband, or the adhesives used to assemble the Force. “We hired independent labs and medical experts to conduct a thorough investigation, and have now learned enough to take further action,” Park concluded.
Fitbit originally responded to customer complaints by offering refunds or replacements for the Force with any other Fitbit product. Since then, the company has issued a recall. Affected users send in their Force, and once it’s confirmed, Fitbit will send a physical check for the total cost of the device, which should arrive between two and six weeks after the Force is received by the company.
There’s no estimate on when a new version of the Force will arrive, according to Fitbit, but it’s already in the works.