The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is officially recalled the Fitbit Force activity tracker after thousands of people complained of rashes and blisters on their skin. CPSC says that it received 9,900 reports of skin irritation and 250 reports of blistering. The recall affects one million units in the United States and about 28,000 units sold in Canada.
The reaction is caused by “the stainless steel casing, materials used in the strap, or adhesives used to assemble the product, resulting in redness, rashes or blistering where the skin has been in contact with the tracker.” according to the CPSC.
Some users say that the numbers cited by the CPSC do not capture the scope of the problem. “The magnitude of the impact was not even properly described,” said Kim Reichelt to ABC News. Reichelt was a Fitbit Force user who started her own database of complaints after she experienced burn-like rashes on her wrist. She says ”There are close to 1,000 people who have reported blistering on [Fitbit’s] own forum, and that’s based on posts from fewer than 10% of those who have had reactions.” Nisha Paige, another Fitbit user from Alexandria, Va., agreed. “The numbers look off,” said Paige “[Fitbit says] only 250 people reported blisters but we have seen more reports of that on the forum. I still don’t feel this recall does this issue any justice, but at least it is a legitimate recall.”
Fitbit voluntarily recalled the $129 Fitbit on February 21st, but many consumers never heard of it because it never went through an official government channel. CPSC’s recall now makes it illegal to sell or resell the Fitbit Force. Some consumers have expressed that the voluntary recall was an inadequate effort that failed to warn enough people.
Alexandra Schweitzer told ABC News, “I am appalled that Fitbit has not notified all owners of the device while hundreds more continue to get hurt,” Schweitzer told ABC it took weeks for her rash to clear up.
Some consumers are worried about whether or not there are more serious health problems associated with wristband. George Cobb of Bozeman, Montana said he was worried about the Fitbit Force after he bought it as a gift for his girlfriend. In an email to ABC, he wrote “The bigger issue is dealing with the unknown. Is this a carcinogen reaction? Will it affect her immune system? I’m sick over this…A gift that was meant to promote health has turned into a nightmare.”