Girard Gibbs LLP is representing clients who used the Fitbit Force™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband (known as the Force Wristband) and suffered injuries such as skin lesions, painful blisters, itchy and burning rashes, and permanent scarring.
Thousands of Force users in the United States have already reported experiencing such side effects after using the Force Wristband after a few weeks.
Fitbit, a California fitness technology company, released the Force Wristband in the United States in October 2013. The Force Wristband is Fitbit’s latest fitness activity tracking device. The device is a plastic wristband that is worn around the user’s wrist 24/7 to track the user’s sleeping patterns, fitness activities, and the amount of calories burned in a day.
Fitbit Force Users Experience Lesions and Rashes
Around December 2013, many Force Wristband users, who had purchased the product hoping to improve their health, began reporting burning skin rashes where they had worn the wristband. Users also complained that their rashes grew and blistered, are slow to heal, and have been told that they will have permanent scarring as a result.
For instance, one user shared that her “rash developed after wearing it about a week. I tried every OTC remedy . . . nothing would work. Finally the rash looked really ugly and I went for medical care.” The same user is also “not allergic to any metals, and have never experienced this before.”
Another user reported: “The itching and redness turned to blistering. After the blisters broke the skin turned dry and scaly. I believe this was a chemical burn caused by the battery leaking. The recharging must have caused it to leak. Since Fitbit support does not want to address this issue I guess I will have to report this to the Consumer Protection Agency.”
A different user described the injury as “a poison ivy burn/blister on my right wrist. It was really swollen and nasty looking. . . it itches and looks like a bad burn on the right arm.”
Fitbit Claims Skin Problems are Allergic Reactions to Nickel
In January, Fitbit claimed that tests from an “independent lab have eliminated the possibility of a problem with the mechanical or electrical functioning of the device” and that Fitbit “consulted with medical professionals whose assessments are that these irritations are most likely common allergic reactions to nickel, a component of the surgical-grade steel used in the Fitbit Force.” However, many Force Wristband users made clear that they have no known nickel allergies or any allergies at all. Additionally, some people who had switched over to the Force Wristband after using the Fitbit Flex™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, which like the Force has a “surgical-grade stainless steel clasp” that contains nickel, did not experience the same problems with the Flex.
The severity of some injured Force Wristband users has also grabbed the attention of media news outlets. In a Huffington Post interview in January, Mike Townsend of River Falls, Wisconsin, said he developed a skin irritation after wearing the Force Wristband on his left wrist for about two to three weeks. He thought the irritation was caused by bacteria, which Fitbit has said could accumulate in the Force Wristband. However, after cleaning his Force Wristband, Townsend’s rash got worse, became painful and would “break and ooze or bleed” when scratched.
Fitbit Force Gets Recalled
On February 20, 2014, Fitbit finally recalled the Force Wristbands while maintaining that the side effects “were likely the result of allergic contact dermatitis.” In March 2014, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) followed with an official recall of the Force Wristbands, making it illegal to sell or resell the device in the United States. By this time, the CSPC had received over 10,000 complaints of negative skin reactions to the Force Wristband.
According to ABC News, the number of complaints may be much more than what the CPSC has received. Fitbit has not given another explanation for these negative side effects, which have left some users worried about whether the skin reactions are a “carcinogenic reaction,” and whether the chemicals in the device can cause “breast cancer, birth defects, or long term debilitation.”
Potential Effects of the Force Wristbands Experienced by Users
· Red blotches
· Skin lesions
· Skin redness
· Peeling skin
Did You Experience a Skin Sore, Rash, Blisters or Burns After Wearing the Force Wristband? Speak with a lawyer.
If you wore the Force Wristband and experienced a skin sore, rash, blisters or burns on the area of your skin that came into contact with the Force Wristband, or if you want to learn more about the lawsuit, please contact our consumer lawyers toll free at (866) 981-4800 or by filling out the form to the right. All inquiries are free and confidential.