Sound Abatement Foam in Philips CPAP Sleep Apnea Machine Caused Lung Cancer, Lawsuit Claims

Recalled Philips CPAP sleep apnea machines contained a sound abatement foam that could break down and release toxic chemicals and debris.

A Louisiana woman indicates in a recently filed lawsuit that she developed lung cancer from sound abatement foam inside a Philips CPAP sleep apnea machine, which released toxic chemicals and debris directly into the device’s air pathways.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Angela Sterken in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, pursuing claims against Koninklijke Philips, N.V. and its Philips North America subisidiaries, which manufactured and sold millions of defective CPAP machines that were recalled last year.

The Philips CPAP recall was first issued in June 2021, following the discovery that a polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam used to reduce noise and vibrations in the devices could break down and release toxic chemicals and debris directly into the lungs of users.

Breathing the chemicals, gasses and particles released by the PE-PUR foam has already been linked to reports of cancer, lung damage and severe respiratory injuries, according to claims presented in hundreds of Philips CPAP lawsuits now being pursued by former users.

Sterken indicates she was prescribed a Philips DreamStation CPAP sleep apnea machine in 2019, for daily use to treat sleep apnea. However, she later discovered the device was releasing toxic chemicals and debris directly into the tubing, face mask and her lungs every night.

“After, and as a result of using the subject device, Plaintiff has suffered personal injuries including cellular damage, DNA damage, and a diagnosis of lung cancer,” Sterken’s lawsuit states. “These injuries would not have occurred but for the defective nature of the subject device and/or Defendants’ wrongful conduct.”

The complaint will be centralized with other product liability lawsuits and class action lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, which are currently consolidated before Senior U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

In the coming years, it is expected that Judge Conti will establish a bellwether program where small groups of representative CPAP lawsuits will be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the claims.

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