Federal regulators last week directed manufacturers of "hoverboard" scooters to comply with voluntary safety standards or risk recall or seizure of their products.
Robert Howell, acting director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's compliance office, wrote that hoverboards that do not meet standards for self-balancing scooters or lithium-ion batteries "pose an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers" and will be considered defective.
The increasingly popular hoverboards allow users to stand on small, two-wheeled motorized scooters, but they came under increasing scrutiny due to the fire risk posed by overheating lithium-ion batteries.
The CPSC was notified of 52 hoverboard-related fires across 24 states between the beginning of December and Feb. 17. Those fires caused some $2 million in damage, including the destruction of two homes and an automobile.
"Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn," Howell wrote.
Howell added that the CPSC could advocate for a recall of domestically produced hoverboards or seek to detain or seize imported hoverboards that do not comply.
In addition, failure to report potential defects to the commission could result in civil and criminal penalties.
"The CPSC staff will follow up as appropriate in the future to ensure that the firms are meeting their obligations in this area," Howell wrote.