Government agency investigates reports of Fitbit Flex rashes

By Brian Dolan

Fitbit Flex__ColorsIn February Fitbit announced a voluntary recall of its newest activity tracking device, the Fitbit Force, after a number of users complained of skin irritation from the wristworn device. According to a report in The New York Times, in a few weeks time a government agency, The Consumer Product Safety Commission is set to send its findings from an investigation into rashes stemming from another Fitbit device, Fitbit Flex.

"CPSC staff is taking these incident reports involving the Flex seriously," a spokesman for the CPSC, Scott Wolfson, told the Times. Wolfson said the onset of an investigation did not mean a recall was likely, but the agency would send recommendations to Fitbit to help fix the issue, like warning users about nickel exposure or wearing the device too tightly. 

Fitbit ForceA Fitbit spokesperson told MobiHealthNews it has no plans to recall the Flex.

"Fitbit remains confident about the performance and safety of its Flex activity tracker," the wrote in an email. "Fitbit has no intention of recalling Flex, nor is there any reason to do so. We continue to encourage users to follow our guidelines for product safety and care for maximum enjoyment of their Fitbit products."

The spokesperson told the Times that "the surgical grade stainless-steel clasp on the Flex contains trace amounts of nickel that are below stringent E.U. standards" and that "as with any product made of stainless steel, a limited number of users with nickel sensitivity may still experience an allergic reaction."

The voluntary Fitbit Force recall back in February was for more than one million wristbands. The rashes were thought to be caused either by the nickel in the device's clasp or an adhesive material the device used.

"Recently, some Force users have reported skin irritation," Fitbit CEO James Park wrote in an open letter to customers at the time. "While only 1.7 percent of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation, we care about every one of our customers. On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected."