Fitbit Force Recall Issued Following Problems with Rashes, Burns

Fitbit has recalled a popular brand of physical activity tracking wrist bands, after receiving multiple customer complaints of skin irritation and rashes.  

The Fitbit Force recall was announced on February 21, following an investigation that concluded 1.7% of customers experienced either allergic reactions to the metals used in the devices or some sort of skin irritation causing swelling and itching of the wrist.

The Fitbit wrist devices are a combination of watches and fitness trackers used for logging daily activity. The Fitbit Force has the ability to sync feedback across multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. The devices are able to track all of the user’s physical activity throughout the day and record numbers of steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned, and even how well you slept the night before.

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Co-founder of Fitbit, James Park, announced in the official recall notice that the company has taken the skin irritation issue very seriously and has hired medical experts and independent labs to perform extensive tests that would elaborate on what may cause the irritation.

An independent investigation performed by an undisclosed lab hired by Fitbit concluded there has not been any indications the battery or electrical systems could cause skin irritations. However, the results did indicate that users experiencing these irritations may be experiencing allergic contact dermatitis, a common and very similar reaction people experience when wearing jewelry, perfumes, or using certain soaps.

According to Parks, Fitbit Force watches use typical materials found in consumer products, however some of the irritations could be due to the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel used in devices. Another reason for swelling and redness may be a reaction to bacteria that can accumulate in the wrist bands combined with constant rubbing on the skin, Parks stated in the recall letter.

Reports of problems with FitBit Force first began to appear on the company’s forums, as users complained of rashes and burns, as well as large amounts of swelling and irritation.

On January 23, Fitbit began offering refunds to Force customers following the reports, but has decided to officially recall the products and in return give consumers a full refund. Customers may contact Fitbit Force for information on how to obtain their refund by contact the company at 888-656-6381 or visiting them online at the Fitbit Force Refund website.

Photo courtesy of robpegoraro via Flickr C.C. 2.0


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