April 9, 2014 — NBC Philadelphia reports that a Pennsylvania woman has filed a lawsuit against Fitbit, the manufacturer of the Fitbit Force activity-tracking wristband, after suffering a severe rash and blistering that took months to heal and may leave permanent scarring.
The plaintiff, Erin Clark, says she wore the wristband day and night as directed, but not in the shower. After about a week, a nickel-sized abrasion formed on her wrist.
She put it on the other wrist and only wore it at night, but the abrasion worsened and started to blister. She also developed an abrasion on the other wrist that caused burning and itching.
Clark says she has spent about $150 on a number of doctors’ visits and prescriptions for cortisone cream, steroid cream, and antibiotics to control the rash. Clark and many other victims want to know what caused her rash. One doctor thought a nickel allergy might be to blame, but she has worn metal watches before without problems. Her rash has dissipated, but red discoloration remains on her wrist that her doctor believes will go away.
Fitbit says the skin reactions are contact dermatitis from materials in the wristband:
“Some users may be reacting to the stainless steel used in the device — although it is surgical grade and meets the most stringent regulatory standards — while others are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the materials in the strap or the adhesives used to assemble the product.”
Approximately 1 million Fitbit Force wristbands were sold in the United States and Canada. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) says it has received about 10,000 complaints of skin irritation, including 250 reports involving blistering.