CPSC Chairman Sounds the Alarm on Hoverboards
Chairman Elliot F. Kaye said both UL and ASTM International are preparing to work on the development of standards for hoverboards that would seek to address both types of hazards, and he will direct CPSC staff to participate in the standards' development.
A strong warning about hoverboards was posted Jan. 20 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission's chairman, Elliot F. Kaye, who urged consumers who have them to keep a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using them. "We continue to work diligently to provide the answers on hoverboards that consumers rightfully want and deserve. As noted in this related announcement, we are actively investigating a number of companies that make or sell hoverboards," he began.
Kaye praised Amazon for "erring on the side of caution and taking action now," with the retailer announcing that consumers who purchased a hoverboard from Amazon can return it for a full refund. Kaye asked purchasers to take advantage of the offerand to contact the company through https://www.amazon.com/contact-us/.
He also said he expects "responsible large-volume online sellers in particular to stop selling these products until we have more certainty regarding their safety," and he said Underwriters Laboratories has announced that while components of hoverboards, such as battery packs and power supplies, might be UL certified, there currently is no UL certification for hoverboards themselves, so consumer should not trust a UL mark on their hoverboard or its packaging as a testament to the product's safety.
CPSC is investigating at least 39 hoverboard fires in 19 states, and it is actively investigating the safety of hoverboards made, imported, or distributed by these companies. Kaye said CPSC staffers have consulted with test laboratories, lithium-ion battery representatives, and he reported that, "Beyond the fire hazards, based on the increasing number of serious injuries and emergency room visits associated with these products, we are also expanding our investigation of the falls associated with hoverboards."
"As we move forward with our investigation of the fall and fire hazards relating to hoverboards, all options remain on the table for CPSC," he added. "The federal government continues to work in close coordination on this serious issue. Officials from CPSC, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are regularly sharing information and insights with a common goal of taking whatever steps are necessary to prevent injuries and property damage from fires and falls."
He said both UL and ASTM International are preparing to work on the development of standards for hoverboards that would seek to address both types of hazards, and he will direct CPSC staff to participate in the standards' development. He urged consumers to report falls or fires to CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov and also to:
- Have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using these boards.
- Charge in an open area away from combustible materials.
- Gear up before riding, which means putting on a skateboard helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards.
- Do not use a hoverboard on or near a road.