Fitbit has recalled one of its fitness -tracking smartwatches due to the risk of it overheating and causing wearers’ skin burns .
The company, now owned by Google, has assured that it had issued the voluntary recall order for the Fitbit Ionic watch after verifying that some games were defective and could cause burns due to overheating of the device. After admitting its mistake and apologizing, the company announced that it would give those affected who bought the device a refund of 250 euros and apply a discount of up to 20% if they finally decided to buy another device to replace the defective one.
The affected Fitbit Ionic model was manufactured between 2017 and 2020, and about 1.7 million of them were sold in dozens of countries around the world. None of the other fitness trackers have been affected by this bug, and only one batch is believed to have been affected by the bug.
Fitbit had received more than 170 reports of the lithium battery in its Ionic watch overheating, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC said it was aware of 78 reports of burn injuries in the country, including two reports of third-degree burns caused by battery overheating.
A third degree burn is a serious burn that destroys the skin and can damage underlying tissue. It often requires a synthetic skin graft. The CPSC has confirmed another 40 of these burn injuries internationally, especially in the United Kingdom and in different European countries such as Sweden or France.
In a statement, Fitbit said that customer safety is always the company’s top priority and, out of an abundance of caution, announced that they would be voluntarily recalling Fitbit Ionic smartwatches affected by this bug, as well as attempting to compensate all affected customers.
Still, the company took pains to put its faulty device data into perspective, stating that the number of reports of watches overheating represented less than 0.01% of units sold worldwide.
Is not a new problem
In 2019, an internal report from the company explained how a man claimed he woke up in the middle of the night with intense pain in his wrist. He said his Fitbit activity tracker was burning his skin, which was confirmed by health staff at the hospital he went to earlier that day. The user had third-degree burns and required surgery to restore patches of skin that had been burned by the lithium battery in his device overheating.
Activity trackers not only emit radiation that can be harmful to long-term health, but there are also some potentially dangerous consequences that can occur due to device battery malfunction.