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Can CPAP Machines Cause Cancer?
Everything You Need to Know

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

Quick Summary

  • Some CPAP machines produced by Philips pose a potential cancer risk.
  • Philips CPAP devices use a sound-dampening foam, which can break down. Inhaling gases emitted from the foam can develop cancer.
  • If you’ve experienced health problems after using a CPAP machine, you should consult a doctor and a lawyer to check if you’re eligible for a CPAP lawsuit.

Do CPAP Machines Cause Cancer?

Man resting in bed while using CPAP Machine

Most CAPA machines don't cause cancer, but some brands that use certain carcinogenic materials in their products might be contributing to it. 

It’s estimated that 22 million Americans have moderate to severe sleep apnea [1]. People who have sleep apnea have issues breathing during sleep — their breathing stops and starts repeatedly. CPAP devices help with this issue.

As we've said, most of these machines don’t cause cancer; they can even reduce the risk of cancer and other health issues.

However, some CPAP machines manufactured by Phillips have been found to elevate cancer risk. These machines contain polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam. 

This foam is used to dampen the sound while the CPAP machine is in use. Polyurethane foam can break down and release particles and gases that can cause cancer if inhaled. 

Related ArticlePhilips CPAP Machine Recall Lawsuit Update

“These issues can result in serious injury, which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and require medical intervention to prevent permanent damage.” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in its Safety Communication

Polyurethane foam is known to be harmful. Fire marshals call this kind of foam solid gasoline. It’s especially dangerous in Philips CPAP machines, as they can send carcinogenic air straight into the body. 

Why is PE-PUR Foam in Philips CPAP Machines Dangerous?

PE-PUR foam in Phillips CPAP machines is dangerous because when it disintegrates, it releases carcinogenic gases.

PE-PUR foam that hasn’t broken down is harmless, but it can cause mild to life-threatening consequences once it’s broken down.

Philips’ lab determined that degraded foam releases harmful chemicals such as:

  • Opening the box for CPAP Machine Toluene diamine — A chemical used for dyes and explosives. It can cause genetic defects, cancer, and lowered fertility.
  • Toluene diisocyanate — Used for foam and coatings. It can cause eye and skin irritation and can have fatal consequences when inhaled.
  • Diethylene glycol — Used to make chemicals that irritate skin and is toxic if inhaled.
  • Dimethyl diazene — Used to make other chemicals.

Health Risks of Using CPAP Machines

There are long-term and short-term potential health risks of using a CPAP machine. They include:

  • Man in bed using CPAP machine while sleeping and resting Headache
  • Allergic reaction
  • Skin irritation
  • Coughing 
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Cognitive difficulties 
  • Acute Respiratory Distress System
  • Chemical Poisoning
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Ear Inflammation
  • Nose Inflammation
  • Throat Inflammation
  • Asthma 
  • Leukemia
  • Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Pneumonia

Most importantly, recalled Philips CPAP machines have been linked to causing potentially deadly cancers, including:

  • A brain in MRI scan resultBrain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Hematopoietic cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung damage
  • Liver cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Nasal cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Papillary Carcinoma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Thyroid cancer and other thyroid cancers 

Symptoms of Exposure to CPAP Foam Particles

If you’ve been using a Philips CPAP sleep breathing device, you’ll know you’ve been exposed to foam particles if you experience:

  • Woman scratching her reddish arm from itchSkin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Breathing problems
  • Airway Inflammation
  • Respiratory tract irritation 
  • Chest pressure
  • Sinus inflammation 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity

What to Do if You’ve Been Using Recalled Phillips Breathing Devices?

A close up view of a CPAP Machine

If you’ve been using Phillips breathing devices, you should visit a doctor straight away, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. You should also consult a lawyer to check if you have a Philips CPAP case.

It’s estimated that 2 to 3 million CPAP sleep apnea machines have been recalled. Out of all of those, two-thirds were sold in the U.S. Philips recalled 17 different types of CPAP machines used for sleep apnea [2]. 

On June 14, 2021, Philips issued a statement saying that all patients using a Philips CPAP machine should stop doing so immediately and ask their doctors for an alternative.

Each recalled Philips CPAP machine has been manufactured before April 26, 2021, and it has a serial number, so you can check if your device is part of the recall.

Philips said they would replace or fix the issue in the CPAP machines in one year. However, in the meantime, it was found that the foam they planned to use to replace the PE-PUR foam also poses a cancer risk, especially the risk of lung cancer and liver cancer. The situation is still ongoing.

Who Can File CPAP Lawsuits?

A lawyer writing on a contract with gavel beside himYou have to meet the following criteria to be eligible for filing a CPAP lawsuit:

  • You must have used one of the recalled devices for at least six months.
  • You must have a disease caused by breathing polyurethane foam from the device.
  • You have to file a claim within the statute of limitations.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, multiple myeloma, nasal cancer, stomach cancer, brain cancer, bladder cancer, testicular cancer, liver cancer, other thyroid cancer, or some of the other cancers mentioned above, you should let your doctor know you’ve been using a Philips CPAP treatment.

The doctor may be able to link cancer to the CPAP breathing devices, which will help your lawsuit. 

CPAP Lawsuit Damages

A bag of money with gavel on its side

Compensation from a CPAP lawsuit can help you pay for the cancer treatment and other expenses you have. 

If you’re eligible for a lawsuit, the compensation you can receive should cover:

  1. Medical expenses — Including hospital stay, medication, and doctor appointments.
  2. Lost wages — If you’re unable to work due to respiratory problems or cancer developed from a CPAP device.
  3. Loss of future earnings — If you won’t be able to go back to work due to cancer or disease severity.
  4. Pain and suffering — If they were caused by a disease that was a result of CPAP machine use. 

Related Articles:

See all related medical device lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.


What if I have been diagnosed with cancer and I’ve used a recalled sleep or ventilation device?

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you’ve used a recalled sleep or ventilation device, you should consult a lawyer who can tell you if you’re eligible for a CPAP lawsuit.

What should I do if my sleep apnea device has been recalled?

If your sleep apnea device has been recalled, you should stop using the device immediately and consult your doctor for an alternative. Also, check for any health problems that using the device may have caused.