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Target pauses sale of hoverboards due to fire risk

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Target is pausing the sale of a popular toy because there's a risk they may start on fire.

The Minneapolis-based retailer had been selling hoverboards online, but in the wake of an alert from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), it has decided to stop – at least for the time being.

"We take product safety very seriously at Target and are proactively working with our vendors to ensure they are compliant with the new safety standards and hoverboard certification protocol provided by the Consumer Products Safety Commission," Megan Boyd, with Target public relations, told BringMeTheNews. 

Last week, the CPSC sent a notice to makers, importers and retailers urging them to make sure the self-balancing scooters they're selling meet "voluntary safety standards" – because the ones that don't pose "an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers," the agency says.

https://twitter.com/USCPSC/status/700719012137664512

The problem stems from the lithium-ion battery packs and power supplies – some are counterfeit or not Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified.

These batteries are believed to be the cause of numerous fires. From Dec. 1, 2015, through Feb. 17, CPSC has received reports of 52 self-balancing scooter fires, totaling $2 million in property damages, including the destruction of two homes and a vehicle.

The agency believes the fires could have been prevented if the hoverboards met the safety standards.

The CPSC continues to investigate several makers of the hoverboards to figure out the root cause of the fires. It is also looking into an increasing number of serious injuries and hospital visits of people who have fallen off hoverboards.

These alerts have prompted retailers to stop selling the toy. Target says anyone who bought a Swagway or Razor hoverboard on Target.com (they weren't ever sold in stores) can return it online or in stores.

Target became the second major retailer in the past few days to stop selling hoverboards, Mashable reports. Over the weekend, Toys "R" Us halted the sale of its self-balancing scooters "out of an abundance of caution."

Amazon.com became one of the first "leading retailers" to stop selling hoverboards and offer a refund to consumers, the CPSC said in January.

Hoverboards have also been banned by many airlines for their fire risk.

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