Preventive ban on hoverboards sought

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines)— Environmental watchdog Ecowaste Coalition on Sunday (January 3) urged the government to impose a precautionary ban in the importation, sale, and use of hoverboards until the safety issues have been fully resolved.

Due to reports on safety issues, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formed a panel to probe on the concerns hounding hoverboards.

Both government agencies also advised the public to be extra cautious in buying hoverboards especially for minors below 14 years of age.

“We welcome the formation of the panel and urge its members to get to the bottom of the hoverboard safety controversy as soon as possible,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Proliferation in thrift shops

Ecowaste coalition also expressed concern over the proliferation of the hoverboards in shops that offer the product in very affordable price.

“Pending the initiation and completion of the probe and the adoption of strong safety standards, we find it logical for the government to enforce a precautionary ban on hoverboards that are being sold in formal and informal retail outlets, as well as in online shopping sites,” Dizon said.

According to the environmental watchdog, these products are sold for as low as P5,500 over the Internet and around P7,500 to P14,500 in Divisoria.

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has admitted “there is no safety standard in place for hoverboards.”

The CPSC is currently investigating cases of hoverboards that have caught fire, as well cases of serious fall injuries resulting to “concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries.”

In the United Kingdom, the National Trading Standards (NTS) have examined over 17,000 hoverboards from October to December 2015 and detained more than 15,000 (88%) of them for being unsafe.

For those who have already bought hoverboards, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated the following safety tips from CPSC:

Do not charge a hoverboard overnight or when you are not able to observe the board.

Charge and store in an open dry area away from items that can easily catch fire.

Do not charge directly after riding.  Let the device cool for an hour before charging.

Do not ride near vehicular traffic.

Wear safety gear when using a hoverboard such as a helmet, and knee and elbow pads and wrist guards for protection from falls.