Image: Fitbit Force Recall: Wristbands Blamed for Itching, Irritated Skin

Fitbit Force Recall: Wristbands Blamed for Itching, Irritated Skin

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 08:33 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Fitbit voluntarily recalled all of its Force wristbands this week after some customers reported itchy, irritated skin from the wearable activity trackers.

The San Francisco-based company that produces the Fitbit — which records a person's number of steps, calories burned, distance, and sleep patterns — said that 1.7 percent of wearers have experienced a rash or skin irritation.

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"On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected," Fitbit Chief Executive James Park said in a statement. "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."

Fitbit first became aware of the negative side effect last month and worked in the lab to rule out electrical or hardware problems. The research team then determined that the skin reaction was likely a case of allergic contact dermatitis.

The company is encouraging any Force owners to return their wristbands for a full refund by filling out a form on the Fitbit website or calling the company's customer service center. They'll receive a kit to mail the Force back to Fitbit and should receive a refund check in two to six weeks.

The Fitbit Force retails for about $130.

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