CPSC Rules All Available Hoverboards Unsafe, Amazon Pulls Them from Store
Hoverboards quickly have become one of the most popular gifts, and seeing people glide across the sidewalk is no longer a novelty. However, numerous customers have reported issues, such as combustion, with their items. Now, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) have released official safety standards for hoverboards, deeming every hoverboard currently on the market unsafe. Following the announcement, Amazon removed all hoverboards from its online store.
In the CPSC's message regarding hoverboard safety, Robert J. Howell, acting director of the CPSC's Office of Compliance and Field Operations, urged retailers to ensure that their hoverboard products meet the new UL standards.
"Self-balancing scooters that do not meet these voluntary safety standards pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers," the statement said. "Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn."
The CPSC received 52 reports of hoverboards catching fire from December 2015 through Feb. 17, 2016.
"We believe that many of the reported incidents, and the related unreasonable risk of injuries and deaths associated with fires in these products, would be prevented if all such products were manufactured in compliance with the referenced voluntary safety standards," the statement said.
According to Mashable, UL only created certification protocol specifically addressing the hoverboards themselves, and not the lithium ion batteries that power them—which usually are the sources of fires.
UL has not certified any hoverboards as safe, rendering all hoverboards currently available as "defective" in the eyes of the CPSC. If the CPSC discovers any products that are not in compliance with these standards at import, the commission could seize the items or detain importers. If it discovers any domestic products in violation, it could seek recall of the products.
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) February 19, 2016
"This is us drawing a line in the sand and [sending] notice for the entire hoverboard community," Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the CPSC, told Mashable. "From our perspective, a smart retailer will put in place a stop-sale to find out if their inventory complies with the UL standard. If they are certain that it doesn't, they should then issue a recall proposal."
In addition to UL's tests, the CPSC conducted its own, separate study, including voltage tests, inspection of the products' circuit boards and batteries, examination of previously burned hoverboards, dynamometer tests, and CT scans of batteries.
Amazon previously pulled the items from its site in December after the media reported on hoverboard fires and the CPSC released a statement regarding hoverboard safety. However, it continued sales of hoverboards a week later. In January, the CPSC offered refunds to anyone who had purchased a hoverboard from Amazon.
According to PIX11, Amazon has removed all hoverboards from its store once again. Some hoverboard accessories still are available, however.
The UL safety standards for hoverboards are available for purchase here.