Hoverboards Must be Certified as Safe before Sale, Says CPSC

hoverboard - Hoverboards Must be Certified as Safe before Sale, Says CPSC
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February 19, 2016

Hoverboards came, they saw, they caught fire. After months of research and investigation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a statement that warns hoverboard makers to follow a set of voluntary safety standards or their products could be pulled from store shelves.

The federal regulator is urging hoverboard makers to have their products certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) before they are sold to consumers. If not, the companies could have their products seized or stopped from being imported.

"Self-balancing scooters that don't meet these voluntary safety standards pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers," wrote Robert Howell in a letter to hoverboard manufacturers, importers and retailers. Howell is the acting director of the CPSC's Office of Compliance and Field Operations.

Between December 2015 and February 2016, the CPSC has received more than 50 reports of fires that resulted from hoverboards that have ignited. While the fires have caused no human injuries (two dogs have reportedly died in California), they have caused $2 million in damage, including the destruction of two homes and car.

Some hoverboards may already have a UL stamp, but this should be considered a sign of a counterfeit product. The company only began accepting hoverboards for certification at the beginning of February.

Mashable reports that along with testing by UL, the CPSC has been doing its own product testing. "We were not able to fully replicate an open flame," CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye told Mashable. But, "We were able to get the temperature hot enough that there was significant melting and other signs of overheating."

While no official recall has been issued, the CPSC has made clear that it will target anyone that that continues to make, import, or sell unsafe hoverboards that haven't been first certified by UL. In January, Amazon began offering refunds for hoverboards purchased through its website.

The U.S. isn't the only country cracking down on hoverboards. Officials in the U.K., where supposedly two children narrowly escaped a house fire, have been warning consumers about the dangers of hoverboards since the beginning of December. At that point, of 17,000 imported hoverboards, 15,000 didn't pass inspection.

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