Fitbit Inc., a company that makes wearable fitness technology, issued a voluntary recall this week of its “Force” wristbands following reports that several customers experienced rashes and other skin irritations from using the device.
James Park, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fitbit, posted on their website Thursday that the company will no longer sell the Force and plans to issue full refunds. Fitbit has set up a page for users who want to return their wristband.
“While only 1.7 percent of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation, we care about every one of our customers,” says Park. “On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected.”
The $130 Force wristband hit retail shelves late last year. The device wirelessly monitors sleep and daily fitness activities, such as quality of sleep, amount of steps taken, active minutes and calories burned, through your computer or smartphone.
An independent investigation of the claims was conducted using labs and medical experts. Park said that test results indicated that Force users may be experiencing an allergic reaction to nickel, adhesives or other materials in the wristband. The tests have not found problems with the device’s battery or electrical systems, according to Park.
“Some users may be reacting to the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel used in the device,” says Park. “Other users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to assemble the product.”
Fitbit has served as one of the pioneers in the increasingly popular wearable computing market, along with others, such as Nike with its’ FuelBand and the Pebble smartwatch.
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