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U.S. Government Agency Declares Hoverboards Unsafe

“Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.Never mind that
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They were one of the hottest-selling items of the holiday season, but Friday the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission says no hoverboard currently on the market can be considered safe.

Never mind that the things don’t actually hover. The CPSC is putting hoverboard manufacturers, importers and retailers on notice: meet safety standards or face recall or seizure at ports.

“Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn,” the government agency said in an official letter it sent out issuing a new set of safety standards for the gliding gadgets.

Hoverboards have been prone to defects, including but not limited to: catching fire while in motion and burning down entire houses.

The CPSC’s letter states that the agency “considers self-balancing scooters that do not meet the safety standards referenced above to be defective, and that they may present a substantial product hazard … or could be determined to be an imminent hazard.”

The letter continues “Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn …. Should the 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.”

Today, the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission took it a step further — telling NBC News that no hoverboard can be considered safe.

When asked if any hoverboard on the market right now meets the agency’s standards, CPSC Chairman, Elliot Kaye said, “Not that we are aware of, that's why we want everybody to stop sale, test their units, see if they do or not, and if they do continue selling it, if they don't, don't sell them anymore and recall any of them that are on the market.”

The CPSC’s warning does not ban hoverboards. However, the notice lays out new safety standards that could bring serious penalties (including fines, civil and criminal legal action, and seizure of products) against retailers, manufacturers and importers. The warning could lead to a widespread recall inside the hoverboard industry. The CPSC notes that the recall applies to hoverboards of all shapes, sizes, variations, and prices.

Read More: U.S. Safety Regulators Step Up Probe of Hoverboards Over Fire Risk

Federal safety regulators at the CPSC stepped up their investigation of the self-balancing electronic scooters back in December after a spate of reports of fires and explosions, as well as injury falls.

The agency said that between December 1, 2015 and February 17, 2016 it received reports from consumers in 24 states involving 52 hoverboard fires that results in a total of $2 million in property damage including the destruction of two homes and a car.

— NBC News correspondent Tom Costello contributed to this report.