Allergic reactions cause Fitbit to recall wrist-worn Force fitness tracker

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2014
Apparent skin irritation issues have forced Fitbit to cease sales of its wrist-worn, iPhone-compatible Force, and also to recall units of the fitness tracker that are already on the market.

Fitbit


The official Fitbit Force recall notice was posted by the company on its website this week, in which CEO James Park formally apologized to anyone affected by the apparent issues. He revealed that 1.7 percent of Force users have reported skin irritation from using the device, and test results show that those people are likely experiencing allergic contact dermatitis.

"All Force materials are commonly used in consumer products," Park wrote. "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."

Sales of the Force have been halted, and a voluntary recall is now underway for the product. Park explained that although some users have seen allergic reactions, independent tests have not found any issues with the device's battery or electrical systems.

Users seeking more information can visit the official recall page, or call 888-656-6381.

Park also promised that Fitbit is working on a next-generation tracker that will presumably take the place of the now-unavailable Force. Though no official details were given, the CEO said his company will share details "soon."

AppleInsider reviewed the Fitbit Force in December, and we did not experience any skin irritation issues in our tests. The wrist-worn step counter features a tiny LED display, and a future update is scheduled to send iPhone notifications to its screen via Bluetooth. There is no indication whether those plans have changed given this week's discontinuation of the product.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    ktappektappe Posts: 808member
    And this is exactly why Apple waits until other companies "test the waters" before releasing a product. Apple just got taught by Fitbit what not to do.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    A forced recall?
  • Reply 3 of 38
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    ktappe wrote: »
    And this is exactly why Apple waits until other companies "test the waters" before releasing a product. Apple just got taught by Fitbit what not to do.

    Yeah, 'cause wristwatches are such a new invention ;-)

    To quote The Guinness Book of Records:
    The first wristwatch was made for a woman, Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, by Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1868.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    Gotta stop making them out of peanuts.

  • Reply 5 of 38
    ireland wrote: »
    Yeah, 'cause wristwatches are such a new invention ;-)

    To quote The Guinness Book of Records:
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Though that fact has absolutely nothing to do with Fitbit or his post, but congrats on taking/having time to research it out ; > \
  • Reply 7 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    A forced recall?

    They were forced to voluntarily recall the Force.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apparent skin irritation issues have forced Fitbit to cease sales of its wrist-worn, iPhone-compatible Force, and also to recall units of the fitness tracker that are already on the market.

  • Reply 8 of 38
    This is the biggest confirmation that Apple is about to release a new product... People's wrists are somehow sensing that Apple is close to releasing a wrist-device and are having an allergic reaction from wearing what will soon be a sub-par device.
  • Reply 9 of 38

    1.7%? Did that really justify a complete recall? I'd suspect that Timex watches have a similar skin irritation rate.

  • Reply 10 of 38

    Where I used to work, the employees had problems with the wrist RF units they had to wear. There were nickel snaps that held the RF unit in place on the wristband, and they would make contact with the person's skin, irritating the heck out of some of them. They took to wearing a cut-off sock over their wrist to avoid the stupid things. "Surgical-grade" stainless steel shouldn't include nickel in any great proportion, just because so many people have allergic reactions to it.

  • Reply 11 of 38
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sessamoid View Post

     

    1.7%? Did that really justify a complete recall? I'd suspect that Timex watches have a similar skin irritation rate.


     

    Not if they use Nickel free stainless.

  • Reply 12 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

     

    Where I used to work, the employees had problems with the wrist RF units they had to wear. There were nickel snaps that held the RF unit in place on the wristband, and they would make contact with the person's skin, irritating the heck out of some of them. They took to wearing a cut-off sock over their wrist to avoid the stupid things. "Surgical-grade" stainless steel shouldn't include nickel in any great proportion, just because so many people have allergic reactions to it.


     

    I see that the recall instructions state that "Once your Fitbit Force is returned and confirmed affected, a reimbursement check will be issued and sent directly to you within 2-6 weeks after receipt of the affected product."

     

    Wonder how they'll know if it's one of the items affected. And why some would be affected and not others. Maybe they're onto something there. The speculation of nickel content makes sense.

  • Reply 13 of 38
    I had a Force, that never once successfully synchronized with my phone or laptop. The clasp on the strap was also useless. I returned it (paying for shipping in both directions). I'll never buy a fitbit product ever again.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    gqb wrote: »
    Gotta stop making them out of peanuts.

    And gluten.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Yeah, stainless steel is the problem. That's why it's not used in bands that go around the wrist.

    …oh, wait.

  • Reply 16 of 38
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    Yeah, stainless steel is the problem. That's why it's not used in bands that go around the wrist.

    …oh, wait.


     

    SOME grades of stainless steel are the problem.

     

    That's why they make nickel free.

  • Reply 17 of 38
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    Yeah, stainless steel is the problem. That's why it's not used in bands that go around the wrist.

    …oh, wait.


     

    SOME grades of stainless steel are the problem.

     

    That's why they make nickel free.


    So is "surgical grade" stainless a lesser grade than "Standard - Cheapo - Casio wristband grade"?

  • Reply 18 of 38
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,397member

    Use better quality materials, problem solved.

  • Reply 19 of 38
    Allergic to the Force, he is....hmmm
  • Reply 20 of 38
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mstone wrote: »
    They were forced to voluntarily recall the Force.

    I think he was making a play on words with the word force.

    gavza wrote: »
    I had a Force, that never once successfully synchronized with my phone or laptop. The clasp on the strap was also useless. I returned it (paying for shipping in both directions). I'll never buy a fitbit product ever again.

    Mine synced fine with the iOS app. My only contention is the poorly designed clasp. Just one time not making sure it was clasped properly and it fell off somewhere. I enjoyed the product up until that point so I'd consider buying again once the clasp issue is resolved.
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