Fitbit Explains the Mysterious Allergic Reaction

Despite reports of allergic reactions among consumers, the Consumer Product and Safety Comission as chosen not to recall the Fitbit Flex with the understand that the company will now provide a warning to buyers that the product contains nickel, as well as a new sizing guidelines to avoid wearing the device too tightly. James Park, chief executive with the company, says,

We have always stood by the safety of Fitbit Flex and continue to do so… The Fitbit Flex activity and sleep tracker remains safe and effective, and one of the most popular products in the Fitbit lineup to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.”

Similar complaints were madding concerning the FitBit Force, specifically citing rashes and blisters. The wristbands were subsequently recalled in February and users were notified that the skin irritation was likely due to nickel or another chemical used in the adhesive of the band. Many remained dissatisfied, claiming they had not previously experienced a reaction to nickel, and so demanded more information about the unknown chemical in the adhesive.

Following testing, Fitbit announced the adhesive contained a small amount of methacrylates, a chemical used often in adhesives and paints. Described as “bricks,” the chemical bonds together to create a hard substance.

The individual bricks could cause an allergic reaction, but the final wall doesn’t… But if there are loose bricks hanging around, loose molecules, that’s what causes the allergic reaction.”- Dr. Bruce Brod, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Moving forward, the company claims to have learned from the experience and will incorporate such lessons into the development of future products. Last year, Fitbit reports selling over 2.3 million wristbands globally- a 44.7 percent share of the wearable devices market.


Read more here- “FitBit Says it Will Make Changes to Address Complaints About Allergic Reactions,” (Rachel Abrams, The New York Times)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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