Written By : Michelle Llamas
Edited By : Sophia Clifton
This page features 8 Cited Research Articles

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Why Are People Filing CPAP Lawsuits?

People are filing lawsuits because damaged sound abatement foam from millions of recalled Philips CPAP, BiPAP and mechanical ventilator machines could cause serious injuries, including cancer and severe respiratory and inflammatory problems.

Phillips issued a recall for these devices on June 14, 2021, because polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam may break down in high-temperature and humid environments. Broken-down foam can release black particles and gases that may cause health problems if inhaled or swallowed.

Lawsuits claim Philips defectively designed these machines and put people at risk of serious health problems. Plaintiffs claim these devices are more dangerous than others available on the market.

If you were injured by a recalled Philips device, you may file a lawsuit for compensation, including: Lost wages and future income, pain and suffering, medical bills, future medical care and other damages.

Philips DreamStation CPAP
Philips has recalled millions of machines from its first-generation DreamStation line and others.

Which Philips Machines Have Been Recalled?

Most of the recalled sleep apnea devices come from Philips’ DreamStation CPAP machine line. CPAP devices make up 80% of all recalled devices, and 20% are ventilators, Philips spokesman Steve Klink told Reuters.

Philips recalled all devices and all serial numbers manufactured before April 26, 2021, for devices listed below.

CPAP and BiPAP Devices
  • C-Series ASV
  • C-Series S/T and AVAPS
  • Dorma 400
  • Dorma 500
  • DreamStation
  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation Go
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • E30 (Emergency Use Authorization)
  • Noncontinuous Ventilator
  • OmniLab Advanced+
  • REMstar SE Auto
  • SystemOne (Q-Series)
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • A-Series BiPAP A30
  • A-Series BiPAP A40
  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30 (not marketed in U.S.)
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
  • Trilogy 100
  • Trilogy 200
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Possible Foam Inhalation Side Effects

According to Philips, side effects from foam particle and gas inhalation or ingestion range from mild symptoms such as headaches to serious side effects such as cancer. People may suffer from a range of inflammatory, toxic and carcinogenic effects.

Potential symptoms of foam particle inhalation or ingestion include:
  • Airway irritation and inflammation
  • Asthma
  • Carcinogenic effects (various cancers)
  • Chest pressure
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Inflammatory response
  • Damage to liver, kidney, lung or other organs
  • Respiratory and sinus infections
  • Skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation
  • Upper airway irritation
To date, Philips Respironics has received several complaints regarding the presence of black debris/particles within the airpath circuit (extending from the device outlet, humidifier, tubing, and mask). Philips also has received reports of headache, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure and sinus infection.

Why PE-PUR Foam May Cause Side Effects

PE-PUR foam may cause side effects because of the chemicals in the foam. Philips conducted lab tests and found at least five toxic chemicals present in foam particles and gases released from degraded foam. Chemical gases from foam are also called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

The company received reports of black particles in the airway circuit of recalled machines. But even if you cannot see particles, the foam may already be releasing harmful chemicals.

Harmful chemicals found during Philips’ lab tests include:
  • Diethylene glycol – a chemical that’s toxic if swallowed and may irritate eyes, mucous membranes and skin.
  • Dimethyl diazene – a potentially toxic, carcinogenic chemical that increases the risk of colon cancer.
  • Phenol, 2,6-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-(1-methylpropyl) – a chemical used to make other chemicals that could be harmful to the environment and aquatic life.
  • Toluene diamine – a chemical that has many health hazards, including: Organ damage, skin problems, cancer, infertility and genetic defects. It’s normally used in dyes, explosives and hydraulic fluid.
  • Toluene diisocyanate – a chemical that can be fatal if inhaled and may cause cancer, eye problems, skin irritation and respiratory problems.
To date, Philips has received no reports of these types of safety issues alleged to be related to chemical emissions, but toxicological risk assessment indicates that VOCs [volatile organic compounds] levels exceed a safe exposure threshold.

Who Can File a Philips CPAP Lawsuit?

Anyone who used a recalled Philips CPAP or other device and suffered health problems, especially respiratory issues and cancers, may qualify for compensation.

There is a time limit called a statute of limitations that can range from two years to four, depending on the state. Make sure you talk to a lawyer right away to preserve your legal right to file.

Injuries accepted in Philips CPAP lawsuits include:
  • Acute Respiratory Distress System (ARDS)
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Chemical Poisoning
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Hematopoietic Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Kidney/Renal Damage
  • Kidney/Renal Disease
  • Leukemia
  • Liver Cancer
  • Liver Damage
  • Liver Disease
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lung Damage
  • Lung Disease
  • Lymphatic Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Nasal Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Papillary Carcinoma
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Severe Ear Inflammation
  • Severe Nose Inflammation
  • Severe Throat Inflammation
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Litigation Status

Philips CPAP litigation is in the initial stages and lawyers are still accepting cases. There have been no trials or settlement awards yet.

Because millions of people have been affected and lawyers expect hundreds of lawsuits, cases from across the country may be consolidated into multidistrict litigation in one federal court.

In addition to individual injury lawsuits, there are a few class action lawsuits. In class action lawsuits, plaintiffs are seeking reimbursement for the cost of Philips CPAP machines, not compensation for injuries.

What to Do if Your Philips CPAP Machine Is Recalled

If your CPAP or BiPAP machine has been recalled, Philips recommends discontinuing use of the device and speaking to your medical providers about treatment options. Your provider may stop your CPAP treatment or recommend a replacement machine.

Philips offers a repair and replacement program for affected devices. Patients, users or caregivers can look up the serial number of their device and begin a claim. The company has said it will replace the PE-PUR sound abatement foam in affected CPAP devices with new foam that doesn’t have the same problems.

Please refer to Philips’ website to begin a claim.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making decisions about your health or finances.
Last Modified: September 21, 2021

8 Cited Research Articles

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  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). 2,4-Diaminotoluene. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/2_4-Diaminotoluene
  2. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Azoxymethane. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Azoxymethane
  3. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). DI(Hydroxyethyl)ether. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/8117
  4. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Toluene diisocyanate. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Toluene-diisocyanate
  5. Philips. (2021, June 14). Sleep and Respiratory Care update: Clinical information for physicians. Retrieved from https://www.philips.com/c-dam/b2bhc/master/landing-pages/src/update/documents/philips-recall-clinical-information-for-physicians-and-providers.pdf
  6. Philips. (n.d.). Medical Device Recall Notification: Philips Respironics Sleep and Respiratory Care devices. Retrieved from https://www.usa.philips.com/healthcare/e/sleep/communications/src-update
  7. Sterling, T. (2021, June 14). Philips recalls ventilators, sleep apnea machines due to health risks. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/philips-recalls-some-3-4-million-cpap-ventilator-machines-due-foam-part-2021-06-14/
  8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, June 30). Certain Philips Respironics Ventilators, BiPAP, and CPAP Machines Recalled Due to Potential Health Risks: FDA Safety Communication. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/certain-philips-respironics-ventilators-bipap-and-cpap-machines-recalled-due-potential-health-risks