A man who developed lung cancer after using a Philips Respironics-brand Sleep & Respiratory Care CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device for several years to treat obstructive sleep apnea has hired Beasley Allen lawyer Beau Darley to represent him in a lawsuit against the CPAP manufacturer after learning that a type of foam used in the devices could break down into particles and discharge potentially carcinogenic chemicals into the device’s air pathway that can be inhaled or swallowed by the user.
“Philips Respironics has not disclosed when it first received reports from users of its Sleep & Respiratory Care devices of the presence of black debris or particles within the airpath circuit. But given how long the devices have been on the market, it’s unlikely that the company only recently learned of these issues,” Darley said. “Meanwhile, Philips continued to rake in profits from its CPAP and BiPAP machines while putting users at risk of serious health issues, including cancer.”
On April 26, 2021, Philips disclosed for the first time that it had received several consumer complaints about the presence of black debris within the device’s air pathway and reports of headache, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure, and sinus infection in users of the devices. Those reports led to the discovery that the PE-PUR “sound abatement” foam Philips used to minimize noise in several CPAP and BiLevel PAP (BiPAP) respirators posed serious health risks to users.
Seven weeks later, on June 14, 2021, Philips issued a recall for millions of its CPAP and BiPAP machines, as well as a number of its ventilator devices manufactured between 2009 and April 26, 2021. The recall was issued because of the potential health risks associated with exposure to the degraded sound abatement foam particles and chemical emissions from the foam material.
According to the FDA recall notice:
“The potential risks of particulate exposure include irritation to the skin, eye, and respiratory tract; inflammatory response; headache; asthma; and toxic or carcinogenic effects to organs, such as the kidneys and liver. The potential risks of exposure to chemicals released into the device’s air pathway from the PE-PUR foam include headache; dizziness; irritation in the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and skin; hypersensitivity; nausea/vomiting; and toxic and carcinogenic effects.”
The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that Philips Respironics continued to market and sell the defectively designed devices despite having information about the devices’ potential to cause serious and life-threatening injuries and failed to warn consumers of the serious health risks the devices posed.
The lawsuit is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Division, case number 4:21-cv-00111.