October 20, 2014 — The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded an investigation into the risk of skin rashes from the Fitbit Flex.
Instead of recalling the activity-tracking wristbands, they will require a warning label about skin irritation from nickel or chemicals used in the adhesive, according to the New York Times.
The new label will include warnings about the risk of nickel exposure and allergic reactions. It will also warn users against wearing the wristband too tightly.
Fitbit, the San Francisco-based manufacturer of the Flex, recalled a similar product in February. After selling more than one million Fitbit Force wristbands during the holiday season last year, approximately 10,000 customers reported skin irritation, blisters, and rashes.
Fitbit Contains Methyl Methacrylate
Fitbit has not determined exactly what caused the skin allergies. However, they recently admitted that the adhesive contains “very small levels of methacrylates,” which are common chemicals in adhesives and paint that could potentially cause an allergic reaction.
Users who develop hypersensitivity to methyl methacrylate could be at risk of additional allergic reactions when exposed to it in the future.
Methacrylates are also a potentially hazardous chemical. According to warnings (PDF) from the California Department of Public Health:
“Direct contact with liquid MMA can cause itching, burning, redness, swelling, and cracking of the skin. Repeated skin contact can cause dermatitis (skin rash). In some people, an allergic skin reaction can occur. There are reports that prolonged skin contact may cause tingling, numbness, and whitening of the fingers. MMA easily penetrates most ordinary clothing and can also penetrate surgical gloves.”