In June last year, millions of Philips CPAP and BiPAP sleep machines were recalled after the company acknowledged that the noise canceling foam in the devices was breaking down and forcing users to inhale toxic chemicals.
The sweeping recall immediately sparked a flurry of CPAP lawsuits. The first plaintiffs in these cases claimed that the recalled devices caused various health problems, including asthma, throat tumors and general respiratory irritation.
CPAP and liver cancer, kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Initially, it was not entirely clear what health issues might be definitively linked to inhaling foam particles from the recalled CPAP devices. As new evidence emerges, our attorneys suspect there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of CPAP cancer lawsuits. The strongest causal evidence links Philips CPAP devices to specific types of cancer: (a) kidney and liver cancer, (b) lung cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Philips CPAP recall details
On June 14, 2021, healthcare device company Philips announced an emergency safety recall of millions of CPAP and BiPAP devices used primarily for sleep apnea. It was one of the largest and largest product recalls in recent history, affecting approximately 5 million people in the United States.
Philips issued the recall due to a serious problem with the PE-PUR polyurethane sound deadening foam used in the machines. The PE-PUR foam in many machines deteriorated over time and required users to inhale tiny foam particles every night while they slept. This was a major health hazard because the PE-PUR foam contained several chemical components which are well-known human carcinogens.
Philips knew about the problem with its CPAP devices but did nothing
In August of last year, the FDA concluded a CPAP recall investigation which found that Philips had known about the problem with PE-PUR foam for almost 10 years but did nothing about it. Internal company documents revealed that at least as early as January 2011, Philips was aware that the PE-PUR foam in its machines had a tendency to degrade and pose a health risk to users.
The FDA investigation also established that over a 7-year period from April 2016 to January 2021, Philips received at least 14 separate reports of PE-PUR foam degradation issues with its devices. CPAP.
In response to this information regarding the safety of its CPAP and BiPAP machines, Philips did absolutely nothing. He made no further investigation; it has not conducted a health hazard assessment or risk analysis; he did not conduct a design review of the question.
Do the recalled Philips CPAP devices cause cancer?
When Philips first announced the CPAP recall in June, it took the scientific and medical community by surprise. Therefore, nothing prevented research or clinical studies from establishing a specific causal relationship between prolonged use of the recalled CPAP devices and specific types of cancer or other medical conditions.
Philips did their own in-house lab testing and research before issuing the recall and basically admitted that inhaling the foam particles could lead to cancer. In its recall notice dated June 14, 2021, Philips stated that inhaling the PE-PUR foam in the recalled CPAP devices could cause “toxic and carcinogenic effects.”
Philips has also published a brief report titled “Clinical Information for Physicians”. In this report, Philips revealed that “[l]An ab analysis of degraded foam reveals the presence of potentially harmful chemicals. Potentially harmful chemicals in CPAP foam included 4 chemicals classified by the CDC as potential or known human carcinogens:
- Toluene diamine: Classified by the CDC as a “Potential Occupational Carcinogen” and animal testing has linked it to liver cancer.
- Toluene diisocyanate: Classified by the CDC as a “Potential Occupational Carcinogen” and animal testing has linked liver, pancreatic, liver and skin cancer.
- Phenol: a possible carcinogen known to damage the kidneys and liver.
What types of cancer may be linked to the toxic foam in the recalled CPAP devices?
Research studies are currently underway to give us a more accurate picture of the exact types of cancer that are likely related to inhaling degraded PE-PUR foam particles from recalled Philips CPAP or BiPAP devices. According to a public safety notice issued by the FDA, chronic exposure to polyurethane foam particles of the type associated with CPAP devices may increase the risk of organ cancers, particularly liver cancer and kidney cancer.
Although we do not yet have studies specifically quantifying the risk of specific types of cancer for users of the recalled CPAP devices, we do have existing laboratory testing and research on specific carcinogenic chemical compounds contained in PE-foam. PURE. Based on this evidence and the cancers identified in numerous CPAP recall lawsuits that have been filed, we can tentatively identify a number of specific types of cancer that appear to be linked to the recalled CPAP devices.
The types of cancer with the strongest apparent link to the chemicals in PE-PUR foam are kidney cancer and liver cancer. Both of these cancers have been shown to occur in laboratory animal tests on 2 of the carcinogenic components contained in the toxic foam of the CPAP machine. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer also appear to be closely linked to chemicals in PE-PUR foam, known as isocyanates.
A number of other types of cancer may also be linked to the inhalation of foam particles in Philips CPAP devices.
Recalled CPAP users diagnosed with cancer may be eligible for compensation
Anyone who has regularly used one of the recalled Philips CPAP or BiPAP devices for at least 12 months and has subsequently been diagnosed with ANY type of cancer could potentially be eligible for financial compensation. Thousands of CPAP lawsuits have already been filed and many, many more are expected to move forward.
The types of cancer most frequently alleged by CPAP plaintiffs in the case filed so far are kidney, liver and lung cancers. However, as more CPAP recall cases are filed, we expect many different types of cancer to be alleged. It’s possible that the research currently underway may or may not end up supporting a causal link between the recalled CPAP devices and certain types of cancer, but at this point it’s all still on the table.
How Much Will CPAP Cancer Lawsuits Be Worth? ?
At this early stage of the Philips CPAP litigation, we cannot say with certainty how much these claims might be worth in settlement or at trial. However, we can make a reasonable estimate regarding the potential settlement value of CPAP cancer lawsuits based on a comparative analysis of verdicts and settlements awarded in malpractice cases involving cancer.
Failure to diagnose cancer is a common type of medical malpractice claim. The median trial verdict payout in misdiagnosis cases involving cancer is $1.75 million (the average is slightly higher). If a CPAP cancer case were to go to trial, it would likely have slightly greater potential value than a cancer misdiagnosis claim due to the nature of the alleged harm.
In a case of failure to diagnose cancer, the plaintiff does not claim that the defendant gave him the cancer. Rather, they allege that the defendant’s negligence caused a delay in treatment for a cancer they already had. In contrast, plaintiffs in the CPAP cancer lawsuits allege that their CPAP device caused them to develop cancer. Causing cancer is obviously more harm than delaying cancer treatment.
While the trial value of CPAP cancer lawsuits could be in the range of $2-3 million, the likely settlement value of CPAP lawsuits in MDL will be significantly lower. Based on previous worldwide settlements in similar mass torts (such as Roundup), we believe CPAP cancer claims will have a settlement value of approximately $150,000 to $200,000. This amount is slightly higher than the average settlement of $150,000 for high-profile Roundup cases involving non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Do the recalled Philips CPAP devices cause cancer?
The chemicals in the foam used in the recalled Philips CPAP devices included several known carcinogens and Philips admitted in its recall notice that inhaling these chemicals by CPAP users may have “carcinogenic effects”.
Hiring a CPAP Cancer Advocate
There is a statute of limitations for every CPAP cancer lawsuit. Call a CPAP attorney today to at least find out what your rights and options are. If you wish to call us, our lawyers take these calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-553-8082. You can also contact us online for a free consultation.