Philips recently recalled millions of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These recalled machines can give off toxic particles and gases that have been linked to severe health conditions, including asthma, kidney damage, and cancer.

If you were diagnosed with a health condition associated with the use of these machines, a CPAP mass tort lawyer can help you seek financial compensation.

Philips CPAP Machines Used Polyurethane Foam to Reduce Noise

CPAP machines are most commonly used to treat sleep apnea, which causes a person to stop breathing while they sleep. Because the user is sleeping when the machine is used, it was designed to operate as quietly as possible. 

Philips used polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam to reduce noise in the recalled units. PE-PUR foam has been shown to degrade over time, especially when exposed to high temperatures and humidity or when cleaned using certain methods, such as ozone cleaning. 

Two Potential Risks of PE-PUR Form

When PE-PUR foam degrades in a CPAP machine, it results in two potential risks. Both have been documented in Philips products since at least 2016.  

First, tiny pieces of foam can break loose and work their way into the machine’s air pathway. These particles may appear as small, black pieces of debris in the device outlet, humidifier, tubing, or mask of the machine. Some foam particles may be too small to see with the naked eye. Whether or not they are visible, these foam particles can cause injury to the user ranging from minor airway irritation to various forms of cancer.

Second, as the foam breaks down, it can give off invisible, toxic fumes through a process called “off-gassing.” These fumes can be extremely difficult to detect because they are often colorless and odorless. The worst of these chemicals has been shown to cause several forms of cancer.

Toxic Foam Particles Found in Philips CPAP Machines

PE-PUR foam is considered safe for handling – for example, when a factory worker touches it with their hands, there is little to no risk that it will cause injury. Similar foam can be found in couches, chairs, and mattresses across the country and is mostly harmless. 

However, when PE-PUR foam degrades and breaks down, it can create small toxic particles that include diethylene glycol (DEG), toluene diamine isomers (TDA), and toluene diisocyanate isomers (TDI). These particles are especially dangerous in CPAP machines because users breathe through the machine as they sleep, potentially breathing in toxic particles for hours upon hours. 

Exposure to these toxins can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation of the eyes
  • Irritation of the skin
  • Irritation of the respiratory tract
  • Inflammation of the airway
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe headache
  • Severe cough
  • Sinus infection 
  • Dermatitis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

More Severe Ramifications of Toxic Foam Exposure  

Breathing in the toxic particles of PE-PUR foam can also cause:   

  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Neurological damage
  • Convulsions
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Toxic Gases Formed by the Breakdown of Foam in Philips CPAP Machines


In addition to creating toxic particles, the breakdown of PE-PUR foam results in a process called “off-gassing” that releases toxic fumes into the machine’s air pathway. The most dangerous chemical produced by PE-PUR off-gassing is dimethyl diazene, also known as azomethane. Although there is limited data available on azomethane, the oxide of azomethane known as azoxymethane is a carcinogen and can cause:

  • Tumors in the central nervous system
  • Colon cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Fetal death

Philips Admits the Dangers of These Toxic Chemicals

Philips has already admitted that the particles and gases resulting from the breakdown of PE-PUR foam are toxic: once in its initial recall notice and again in a clinical information update. This is not a common practice.

Generally, when a business exposes people to toxic chemicals, they try to deny that the chemicals can cause injury. Because Philips admits that it exposed its customers to toxins, a CPAP lawyer representing a person harmed by a Philips CPAP machine has one less element to prove. 

Another black mark against Philips is the fact that the company knew as early as 2016 that its CPAP machines were potentially dangerous. According to an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 14 reports between April 2016 and January 2021 stated that Philips CPAP machines gave off toxic particles and gases. The investigation concluded that Philips did not adequately respond to these reports and did not conduct proper risk assessments. 

Several Models of Philips CPAP Machines Are Affected

Philips recalled the following models of CPAP machines that contain dangerous PE-PUR foam:

  • A-Series BiPAP A40
  • A-Series BiPAP A30
  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
  • C-Series ASV
  • C-Series S/T and AVAPS
  • Dorma 400
  • Dorma 500
  • DreamStation
  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • DreamStation Go
  • E30 
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
  • OmniLab Advanced+
  • REMstar SE Auto
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • SystemOne (Q-Series)
  • Trilogy 100
  • Trilogy 200

Hundreds of Lawsuits Filed Against Philips

To date, over 250 lawsuits alleging injuries from defective CPAP machines have been filed against Philips. Thousands more are expected to follow.

These lawsuits fall into the category of mass tort litigation. Because all the plaintiffs were harmed by Philips, and because the evidence in each case is likely to be similar, the cases have been consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in federal court. Each lawsuit in the MDL is still its own individual case, and the plaintiffs are represented by their own mass tort lawyers. 

Contact Our Los Angeles Philips CPAP Machine Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one used a recalled Philips CPAP machine and experienced any adverse health conditions, our Los Angeles mass tort lawyers want to talk to you about your potential lawsuit against Philips and help you fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

KJT Law Group provides aggressive, personalized, and attentive representation throughout the complex process of mass tort and MDL lawsuits. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by calling (818) 507-8525.