Fitbit announced today that it will recall its new Force model, after users complained of rashes and burns while wearing it. Fitbit CEO James Park says the recall is motivated by “an abundance of caution”.
Reports of itchy, burning rashes caused by the $US129 wristband have trickled onto the internet over the past few weeks. Grisly photos of skin burns from Force users emerged on January 17, but a Fitbit spokesperson maintained that the rashes were likely due to contact dermatitis caused by an allergy to nickel.
In his statement, Park confirmed that the rashes are likely related to nickel — a fairly common allergy related to jewelry — but also hinted that they might have something to do with the glue used to manufacture the bands:
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.
That would make more sense. One Force user — a registered nurse — told Consumer Affairs that the burns could be related to anything from radio frequency burns to pH changes in the metal.
That’s speculation, for now — but in the meantime, Fitbit isn’t taking any chances. Effective immediately, the company will stop selling Force bands — and anyone who already owns one will be able to receive a full refund. [Fitbit]