The U.S. government has put makers, importers and retailers of hoverboards on notice that after an investigation into the safety hazards posed by the devices it is now declaring them unsafe.
In a Thursday letter, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) declared that “self-balancing scooters that do not meet current voluntary standards pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers. Consumers risk serious injury or death if their hoverboards ignite and burn.”
— U.S. CPSC (@USCPSC) February 19, 2016
The CPSC said that from Dec. 1, 2015 through Wednesday, the agency had received reports from consumers in 24 states of 52 hoverboard fires resulting in over $2 million in property damage, including the destruction of two homes and an automobile.
CPSC wants makers and sellers to adhere to safety standards and requirements set forth in an Underwriters Laboratories investigation and will consider hoverboards “that do not meet these standards to be defective and that that they may present a substantial product hazard.” The agency warns that if “staff encounter such products at import, we may seek detention and/or seizure. In addition if we encounter such products domestically, we may seek a recall of these products.”
Mashable reported Friday that in addition to UL tests, the CPSC conducted its own tests of hoverboards but was not able to “replicate an open flame.” But regardless, CPSC chairman Elliot F. Kaye 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.”
Kaye added that safety issues impact all hoverboards, regardless of price.
News of the dangers posed by igniting hoverboards took off during the holiday shopping season as some retailers began to voluntarily pull the items from shelves. Check out this video of a fire at a mall in Auburn, Wash.:
“Saturday Night Live” didn’t miss out on a chance to parody the safety risk. “They’re the hottest gift of the holiday season. And now they’re lirterally the hottest because they also explode!”