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Fitbit Flex wristband to include warning on nickel content

19 October 2014, 8:11 am EDT By Menchie Mendoza Tech Times
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Fitbit has certainly learned an important lesson on keeping consumers healthy and happy: never release a fitness tracker that causes allergies.

In February, Fitbit recalled the wristband Force and gave a refund to consumers who developed skin irritation. The company has since learned that the strap, stainless steel casing and other components of the product caused reddening, blistering and rashes.

It was speculated that the same thing would happen to its latest product, the Fitbit Flex, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission has decided not to push for a recall.

Fitbit is, however, required to make some adjustments.

The Fitbit Flex will now include a warning on the product's nickel content and also a guideline on how snug the wristband should be worn.

The incident with the Fitbit Force prompted the company to investigate the source of the allergy and found the components of methacrylates and nickel were the cause of skin irritation.

"We have consulted with dermatologists who assure us that reactions to these materials used in the Force would be limited to the rashes experienced by some of our users, and that these rashes would be expected to heal on their own," says James Park, CEO and co-founder, in a blog post on Oct. 17.

"We are now confident that our users who experienced allergic contact dermatitis likely reacted either to very small levels of methacrylates, which were part of the adhesives used to manufacture Force or, to a lesser degree, nickel in the stainless steel casing," Park adds.

Methacrylates are commonly used in consumer products, such as plexiglass, dental implants, adhesive bandages and even cosmetics.

Scott Wolfson, the agency's spokesman, adds that the company will continue to monitor the safety of the wearable.

In 2013, Fitbit sold over 2.3 million wristbands worldwide, which represents 44.7 percent of the wearable market. The company said that it has learned its lesson to ensure the entire Fitbit community enjoys the company's fitness trackers.

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