Although Fitbit says it has scaled back on the use of nickel in its smartbands, customers are still complaining of irritated wrists.
The latest string of rash reports related to Fitbit products comes almost a year after the company yanked about one million of its Fitbit Force trackers off shelves and discontinued the product. In those 11 months, Fitbit's tone doesn't seem to have changed all that much.
Fitbit CEO James Park said in March 2014 that only about 1.7 percent of Fitbit users had negative reaction to the product that manifested in the form of skin irritation.
Now, a Fitbit spokesperson told Re/code the wearable tech manufacturer continues to "be aware of a very limited percent of reports" related to skin irritation among the company's customers.
"According to our consulting dermatologists, they are likely from wearing the band too tight; sweat, water, or soap being held against the skin under the device; or from pressure or friction against the skin," the spokeperson stated. "[The skin irritation] should resolve quickly when users take a break from the device, usually within hours or days."
ABC affiliate 7 On Your Side said it scoured social media and found over 200 cases of skin irritation blamed on Fitbit products. Whether Fitbit has the right scope of the issue, a significant portion of its customer base is still being negatively impacted by what appears to be the company's usage of nickel in the fitness bands.
Back in March 2014, consumers launched a class-action lawsuit against Fitbit in response to a string of cases that pointed to the company's fitness trackers as the cause of skin irritation. During that time, Fitbit told the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that it was aware of approximately 9,900 cases related to the issue.
"Based on our initial review of the lawsuit, the complaint asks for a recall of Force and a refund to consumers," Fitbit stated in response to the lawsuit. "Fitbit took initiative long before this complaint was filed, publicly offered refunds, and worked closely with the CPSC on its voluntary recall program. We strongly disagree with the statements about the product and the company."
Fitbit isn't the only company that manufactures products that appear to provoke nickel allergies in its customers. A few months after Fitbit's nickel woes, medical experts released warnings stating that Apple's iPad also employed the metal, and usage of the tablets could spark allergic reactions to those sensitive to the material.