February 12, 2015 — San Francisco-based ABC News7 reports that over 200 people on social media say they have developed skin irritation after using Fitbit Charge and Surge activity-tracking wristbands.
Fitbit has acknowledged that the new trackers can cause skin irritation, and they recommend users stop wearing it for a few days to see if the irritation clears up.
Last March, more than 1 million Fitbit Force wristbands were recalled after 10,000 people reported skin irritation, including 250 who had blistering. Class actions and several individual lawsuits were filed by people who were injured.
The company speculated that the problem was due to allergies to nickel, but some users without nickel allergies developed serious reactions. Only months later did Fitbit admit that the adhesive used to assemble the wristwatch contained methacrylate, a chemical that could potentially cause a skin reaction that would worsen over time.
In response to ongoing reports of skin irritation, Fitbit says the problem is “likely from wearing the band too tight; sweat, water, or soap held against the skin under the device; or from pressure or friction against the skin.”
Activity-tracking watches are meant to be worn all day and night to track activity and sleep. However, the new Fitbit products carry the following warning:
“Prolonged contact may contribute to skin irritation or allergies in some users. If you notice any signs of skin redness, swelling, itchiness, or other skin irritation, please discontinue use or wear the product clipped over a piece of clothing.”
Skin irritation has been reported with other trackers, but there are far fewer reports for products made by Nike, Jawbone, and Garmin.