Consumer Law

Are you allergic to your technology? Suit seeks information on recalled Fitbit Force wristbands


Fitbit Force wristband.

A would-be class action lawsuit against a company that makes wearable fitness-tracking devices highlights the difficulties of obtaining information about the content of a recalled product.

Fitbit recalled more than a million of its Fitbit Force wristbands in February because of consumer complaints about skin reactions, according to the New York Times. Fitbit says the reactions were probably caused by contact with either adhesive or nickel in the product.

Because the recall was fast-tracked, the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not perform its own tests, the story says. The lawsuit, filed in March by lawyer Joseph Siprut, seeks more information about the recalled product.

The United States does not restrict nickel in consumer products, though up to 20 percent of the population could be allergic to the metal, the story says. Doctors have reported allergic reactions such as rashes and blistering to cellphones, tablets, laptop computers and video games with metal pods. Europe, on the other hand, has limited nickel content in products.

Fitbit CEO James Park said in a statement that the company believes the suit is without merit. “As with any jewelry or wearable device, prolonged contact may contribute to skin irritation or allergies in a few users.” Fitbit is constantly working to improve its next-generation products, he said, and the company encourages users to follow guidelines on its website for product safety and hygiene.

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