Since last week Oculus Quest 2 had disappeared across a range of Amazon EU websites. Oculus says it was due to previously reported skin irritation caused by the facepad on a small number of units. While the company says the issue itself has been addressed, a newly published EU Commission filing about the same issue led to a short pause in sales on Amazon EU sites. Quest 2 remains available directly from Oculus and is expected to return to Amazon EU sites soon.

Update (May 18th, 2021 – 5:44PM PT): After publishing our initial article investigating the removal of Quest 2 from Amazon EU sites, Oculus reached out with some additional info which confirmed our findings.

“Amazon has temporarily paused selling Quest 2 in Europe, in response to an EU Commission filing this week regarding the foam interface. We shared back in April that the foam interface issue has been resolved, and we’re working closely with Amazon to have Quest 2 back on sale as soon as possible,” a spokesperson tells Road to VR.

Oculus says the new filing from the European Commission Safety Gate, which communicates product safety notices to the public, is not referring to a new issue, but the same one the company initially identified in December and offered an update about in April. The company has been offering free facepad replacement for units manufactured in a certain timeframe (see the support page here for details).

The original article, which investigated reports of Quest 2 being delisted on Amazon EU sites, continues below.

Original Article (May 18th, 2021): Road to VR checked every Amazon website globally to look for Quest 2 availability and found that the headset is currently unavailable in many European regions. Curiously, availability of the headset directly from Oculus in the same regions doesn’t appear to be impacted.

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Road to VR reached out to Oculus about the matter but the company didn’t provide details beyond saying that, “Amazon is fixing it and the pages should be back up soon.”

Digging further into Oculus user communities on Reddit, a handful of reports of recall notices from Amazon have cropped up within the last day or so (example 1, example 2).

The European Commission Safety Gate website, which communicates product safety notices to the public, confirms these reports through an alert dated May 12th.

The foam of the product contains substances (e.g.: Propylene carbonate, Phenol, fragrance 7-hydroxycitronellal and Benzocaine) which are skin and eye irritants. Consequently the user could suffer from irritation. The product does not comply with the requirements of the General Product Safety Directive.

The page further notes, “The product was sold online, in particular via Amazon,” and points to an Oculus Support page addressing the issue, in which Oculus says it has changed its manufacturing processes to reduce the likelihood that “trace substances” that could lead to skin irritation aren’t introduced during manufacturing. Oculus is also offering a free replacement of the Quest 2 facepad for headsets manufactured within a certain timeframe.

Oculus has dealt with this issue previously. Back in late December the company published a blog post saying it had received reports of skin irritation from 0.01% of people using Quest 2, and that an investigation was underway. The company updated that post in mid-April with the following:

After conducting a comprehensive investigation into this issue, we did not find any contamination or unexpected substances in our manufacturing process. We identified a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process which could contribute to skin discomfort, and while these were already at levels below the industry standard, out of an abundance of caution we changed our process to reduce them even further. We’ve confirmed with expert dermatologists and toxicologists that these levels are considered extremely low. While this issue has only been reported by a very small percentage of Quest 2 users, with these changes, we believe that users are even less likely to experience irritation resulting from any substances in the foam facial interface. We encourage any customer who experiences irritation from using Quest 2 to contact Oculus Support for a facial interface replacement.

The disappearance of Quest 2 headsets in the last week seem likely related to this issue, though the specifics aren’t clear. It’s possible that the original root cause during manufacturing has occurred again, but another possibility is that a regulatory body, Amazon, or an internal decision may have compelled Oculus to do more than simply offer to replace the facepad, and instead asked the company to prevent the further sale of potentially problematic Quest 2 batches.

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So far Oculus has not confirmed that the removal of Quest 2 headsets from Amazon is related to the skin irritation issue. We’ll keep this article updated as we learn more.

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  • Strange to find “fragrance 7-hydroxycitronellal” in a face gasket, typically used for air fresheners, from ECHA:

    “EC / List no.: 203-518-7, CAS no.: 107-75-5, Mol. formula: C10H20O2

    Warning! According to the classification provided by companies to ECHA in REACH registrations this substance causes serious eye irritation and may cause an allergic skin reaction.

    used in the following products: air care products, biocides (e.g. disinfectants, pest control products), perfumes and fragrances, washing & cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products and polishes and waxes.

    Other release to the environment of this substance is likely to occur from: indoor use as processing aid and outdoor use as processing aid.”

    • Weird indeed

      • I guess they wanted people to smell nice when they sweated?

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        • Rosko

          And Benzocaine an anaesthetic WTF, ‘our face gasket is comfortable because it numbs your face’

          • Numb and smelling good, what possibly could go wrong?

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  • Lhorkan

    Seems like a good advertising opportunity for VRCover!

    • Blaexe

      They literally send people free VRCovers, so…

  • Adyson Loneliness

    Oculus through Amazon in Russia is avaiable, but thru Oculus – no

  • Nothing to see here

    I would be more concerned about a neck irritation issue for long term use. The ergonomics of current VR headsets are awful. They should at least be balanced front and back and spread the weight around the top of your head so there are no stress points. People who use VR headsets a lot will get a lot of neck cramps and could even have long term spine problems.

    • Can you provide any medical evidence that head mounted displays will cause “neck cramps” or “long term spine problems”?

      Carrying weight on your head (as people have done for thousands of years i.e. Gokhale ) has the opposite effect:-

      -visceral sensation of your vertical axis (assisting in aligning musculoskeletal frame)
      -strengthens longus colli muscle and corset muscles (stabilising the head)
      -relaxes superficial neck muscles (levator scapulae, scalene, sternocleidomastoid, splenius, and trapezius) as stabilizer muscles strengthen.
      -Centres and grounds participants (increases awareness and sense of presence)

      So whilst the activity of wearing a HMD may seem to cause physical issues due to adding weight to the head, it can prove very beneficial.

      This is a similar response to motorcyclist or downhill mountain biker wearing 1.3kg ACU gold helmet during strenuous physical activity.

      Basically our bodies respond very quickly to stimulus, small weight on the head immediately engages neck and back stabilizer muscles, protecting spine from compression.

      This complex muscular response is hardwired, the signal-response is activated even with no prior stimulus.

      • Nothing to see here

        Carrying weight unevenly on the head is the problem. I agree that carrying balanced weight on your head is no problem at all.

        • Unbalanced weight would need to be considerably more than a fitted PCVR headset to cause musculoskeletal disfunction.

          However strongly agree that balanced headset is ideal; both in terms of rotational inertia and user comfort.

          Generally the paint point of unbalanced headset is craniofacial discomfort, an unpleasant stressor which can trigger headaches, overheating, early onset of motion sickness and often leaves red marking on skin.

  • JB1968

    Looks like I was not too wrong when saying Quest is cheap chinese quality crap.

  • Nothing to see here

    Long before laptops, Radio Shack released the Model 100 computer with a keyboard and small screen built in. The screen was on the same surface as the keyboard and could not be tilted up so users would put the device on a table and crane their necks over it to use it. This caused the kind of long term neck problems I mentioned. You can look this up if you don’t believe me. By unbalancing the weight of a VR headset towards your face, it has the same effect on your neck muscles and vertebrae.

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  • Rogue Transfer

    You really should put quotes around “Oculus” – as you do about other terms that are misleading. The company responsible for dealing with this is Facebook Technologies. Oculus is just a brand/platform name, not an entity or division since 2018. You can fact check this by looking up the references in the Wikipedia on Oculus, or by looking back at your own RoadToVR articles where you reported the legal dissolving of the company Oculus LLC, followed by restructuring teams into Facebook Technologies LLC.

    You shouldn’t be furthering the use of a trade name that obfuscates the company name who’s really responsible for producing these products.