Product Liability - Hoverboard Fire and Explosion Risk

PRODUCT LIABILITY: Hoverboards have been reported to cause fires and explosions, most recently in Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama. Hoverboards are battery-powered skateboard devices and can range in price from $300 - $1,500. Recent incidents of hoverboard malfunction included reports of overheating, explosion, sparks, and other fire hazards.

The U.K. government recently seized 15,000 hoverboards, finding that they were unsafe and at risk for exploding or catching fire . Although the cause of these fire hazards are still under investigation, it is believed that the lithium battery and the charging device may cause the product to overheat or explode.

Recently, national news media coverage of hoverboard toys exploding and causing fires to homes have sparked the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the entire product line. According to Scott Wolfson, a spokesperson for the Commission, "consumers need to appreciate that [the hoverboard] is a product that has lithium ion battery . . . these are batteries that pack a lot of power into a small package, and they need to understand there is a potential for overheating." The lithium ion and lithium metal batteries that power the toy can generate an electric current when both ends come in contact with metal objects, such as keys, coins, or other batteries.

Hoverboards are manufactered, distributed, and sold by a number of different companies, with a majority of them being manufactured in Shenzhen, China.

So far, only one company has issued a recall for the product. Halfords, a U.K. company, recalled its "Air Runner Self Balancing Boards", models 190375/192470/192488 over plug safety fears.


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