Can CPAP machines cause cancer? Some types of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines may increase the risk of cancer because of the potentially toxic sound abatement foam they contain. Cancer and other health risks are among the reasons why Philips has initiated a recall involving many of its CPAP, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and ventilator devices.
Understanding the reasons why these devices are dangerous can help determine which devices to use instead.
How CPAP Machines Cause Cancer
One question triggered by the recent recalls is: “How can a CPAP machine cause cancer?” Philips initiated a recall in 2021 involving many of its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines because of the potential toxicity of the foam they contain. The devices use sound abatement foam to minimize the noise and vibrations resulting from the use of the machine. Specifically, the foam in the recalled devices consisted of polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR), which is normally safe but can become toxic under certain conditions.
PE-PUR has the ability to release dangerous chemicals in the form of either particles or gas. The chemical compound the substance releases consists of isocyanates, which can cause different health issues for individuals who ingest or inhale them. In addition to lung damage and other respiratory injuries and illnesses, isocyanates may contain carcinogenic properties that can lead to some types of cancer.
What Types of Cancer Do CPAP Devices Cause?
Researchers haven’t determined precisely what types of cancer the recalled Philips devices cause via their foam. However, exposure to degraded PE-PUR materials can increase the risk of certain cancers.
The specific kinds of cancer associated with PE-PUR foam include:
- Lung cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
Other cancers that the recalled devices may cause include nasal cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia, hematopoietic cancer, rectal cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphatic cancer, papillary carcinoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
If individuals have developed any of these cancers and have used one of the recalled Philips breathing devices, they may be able to show that the use of these devices caused these illnesses. In turn, they may qualify for compensation through a CPAP lawsuit with the help of a product liability lawyer.
In addition to cancer, the use of defective CPAP machines may also cause a variety of symptoms and conditions. Health risks attributed to these devices include headache, nausea, vomiting, airway irritation and inflammation, dizziness, hypersensitivity, and irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and respiratory tract.
Even if individuals don’t develop cancer because of the use of the recalled devices, they may still be able to file a lawsuit for the injuries or illnesses they sustained.
The Types of CPAP Machines Involved in the Recall
If individuals are wondering what CPAP machines are causing cancer, there are specific Philips machines that the recall has impacted.
The different Philips products that are part of the CPAP recalls include the following: Aeris, DreamStation, Garbin Plus, REMstar SE Auto, BiPAP A30/A40 and V30 devices, C-Series ASV, E30, Trilogy 100, Trilogy 200, Trilogy Evo, Dorma 400 and 500, LifeVent, and SystemOne (Q-Series).
If users of Philips breathing devices aren’t sure whether their devices are part of the recall, they can check online through the Philips Respironics website to look up their device’s serial number. The site will then indicate whether the device is part of the recall.
What Philips Respironics Is Required to Do
Philips Respironics initiated the recall of its defective devices in 2021, enabling its customers to send in the recalled devices for repair or replacement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled the recall a Class I recall, which is the most serious due to the dangers these devices pose.
The company stated that it would be able to replace or repair all impacted devices within 12 months of sending them. The company currently offers a device that doesn’t contain the PE-PUR foam in the form of its DreamStation 2 device. However, some may want to stop using Philips devices entirely and search for an alternative.
Philips Respironics has become the subject of multiple CPAP lawsuits involving customers who sustained injuries or developed illnesses because of the use of the recalled devices. As more lawsuits develop, Philips may need to pay a large amount of compensation to these victims, particularly due to the fact that Philips was aware of the health risks associated with their devices long before the recall.
The FDA advises that individuals with affected devices stop using them and seek an alternative. Users of the devices can consult with medical professionals to determine which alternative will work best for them. For example, their doctor may recommend using a different CPAP machine from another brand, making lifestyle changes to reduce sleep apnea or undergoing sleep apnea surgery if needed. On the other hand, medical professionals may recommend that their patients continue using their existing devices if they’re unable to seek a replacement and the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Do You Qualify for Compensation?
If a user of an affected CPAP machine has experienced certain illnesses or injuries and believes that their CPAP device is responsible, they may qualify for compensation amid the CPAP recalls. While it may be difficult to prove that a CPAP device caused a specific illness or injury, it may be possible to show that this was the case with the help of an attorney.
A growing number of lawsuits are appearing against Philips Respironics due to the dangerous PE-PUR foam these devices contained and the harm they caused.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, individuals may qualify for economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. Each will vary from case to case, with punitive damages rarely involved due to their intent to punish the defendant as opposed to compensate the victim.
Economic damages, also known as special damages, include those that come with a specific amount of money attached to them. These may include medical expenses for treatment, lost income resulting from recovery periods or a degree of disability, or other costs associated with the use of a recalled Philips device.
Meanwhile, non-economic damages include pain and suffering and other less quantifiable damages. Pain and suffering may involve physical or psychological distress, including anxiety and depression, debilitating physical pain that decreases the quality of life, loss of consortium or relationships due to injuries, and other subjective damages. Cancer can be especially traumatic for victims, potentially leading to serious suffering that affects many aspects of a person’s life.
As mentioned, the courts rarely award punitive damages, and it’s currently unclear whether these will play into the Philips CPAP lawsuits. A judge may award these damages if defendants displayed particularly egregious behavior that constitutes gross negligence. The goal is to prevent similar behavior from repeating in the future by setting an example for the defendant. Philips may need to pay punitive damages if lawsuits prove that the company practiced gross negligence by failing to act early enough when becoming aware of the dangers its sound abatement foam presented.
Seeking Compensation for Cancer Resulting from CPAP Machine Use
The current CPAP recalls involving many devices that medical professionals have attributed to cancer and other illnesses, with the devices’ toxic PE-PUR foam under scrutiny because of its potential risks. If users of recalled Philips breathing devices believe that they have developed cancer or another type of injury or illness because of these devices, they may be able to work with an attorney to prove that this was the case. As a result, they may qualify for compensation for the damages they sustained, including medical costs and pain and suffering.
Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.