Original Story, 4/26/17 at 4:18 p.m.: Fitness trackers can tell you a lot about your health, but one woman is saying that her wearable left her in urgent care after the device exploded on her wrist.
According to ABC News, Diana Mitchell says she was reading a book when her Fitbit Flex 2 allegedly caught fire and continued to burn even after she ripped the device off of her arm and tossed to the floor. She claims that an emergency provider had to remove bits of plastic and rubber from her arm and that she was left with a second degree burn. "I was literally just sitting and reading when my Fitbit exploded," Mitchell told ABC News in an emailed statement. "It was either defective or really mad I was sitting still so long … I don't know. Either way, it burned the heck out of my arm."
She has since emailed the company, who offered her a free replacement device, but her concern goes way beyond the money that was spent. "This a product so many people use," Mitchell told TMJ4. "If they are exploding or if there's some type of malfunction with them ... I mean, I'm going to have a scar from this probably, can you imagine what it would do to a child?"
This isn't the first time the Fitbit has been under fire. In 2015, users took to social media to complain of rashes caused by the Fitbit band, which the company said was a result of sweat, water and soap being held under the skin from the device or from friction against the skin. In Mitchell's case, Fitbit told Goodhousekeeping.com in a statement that are currently looking into what caused the tracker to malfunction.
"We are extremely concerned about Ms. Mitchell's report regarding her Flex 2 and take it very seriously, as the health and safety of our customers is our top priority. Fitbit products are designed and produced in accordance with strict standards and undergo extensive internal and external testing to ensure the safety of our users. We have spoken with Ms. Mitchell and are actively investigating this issue. We are not aware of any other complaints of this nature and see no reason for people to stop wearing their Flex 2. We will share additional information as we are able."
Lewis Heayns, a test engineer in the Consumer Electronics and Engineering Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute says that this type of incident is rare, but that consumer care for any type of tech device is important.
"To our understanding, this seems like a one-off faulty product," he explains. "With electronics, we recommend that customers use the authentic chargers and not knock-offs as the latter can cause issues when charging and/or damage to the batteries."
GoodHousekeeping.com has reached out to Diana Mitchell for comment, but has not heard back. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
[h/t: ABC News]
Update, 4/28/17: FitBit has updated GoodHousekeeping.com with the following statement after receiving Mitchell's device for testing:
"We were greatly concerned by Ms. Mitchell's report and took swift action to understand the situation. Based on our initial investigation, including testing of her device by a leading third-party failure analysis firm, we have concluded that Ms. Mitchell's Fitbit Flex 2 did not malfunction. The testing shows that external forces caused the damage to the device. We have not received any other complaints of this nature and we want to assure our customers that they can continue to enjoy their Flex 2 and all Fitbit products with confidence. The health and safety of our customers is our top priority and, as such, Fitbit products are designed and produced in accordance with strict standards and undergo extensive internal and external testing to ensure the safety of our users."
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