In June of 2021, Philips issued a recall for millions of its BiPAP, CPAP, and mechanical ventilator devices because of links to significant health issues. These health issues include a variety of conditions that range from skin irritation to liver cancer.
The users of Philips CPAP devices are facing difficult choices after the recall, given the long wait most people have for a repair or replacement. If you are experiencing health consequences after using a Philips CPAP device, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
Philips’ June 2021 Recall
On June 14, 2021, Philips issued a voluntary recall for many CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilator devices. In total, this recall impacts approximately four million devices sold worldwide. Philips issued an update to their recall notice in November of 2021.
The recall was voluntary, in part because there were no deaths linked directly to the use of Philips devices. However, there have been reports of countless health issues related to the use of these devices.
These reports vary from minor issues like headache and inflammation to serious threats like carcinogenic effects. In total, there were more than a dozen models of Philips CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilators recalled.
The Recall Is Based on Two Risk Factors
The recall for Philips CPAP devices is based on the health risks related to degrading sound abatement foam used within the devices. The recalled devices rely on foam made from a substance known as polyester-based polyurethane. This substance – which is commonly referred to as PE-PUR – is intended to reduce the sound made by these devices while they are operating.
There are two ways the sound abatement foam is linked to serious health consequences. Both circumstances involve the foam breaking down during use.
First, when the foam breaks down into particles, it is possible for the user to inhale those particles when breathing in. Second, as the foam degrades, it releases harmful gases that could also be inhaled.
Common Reported Symptoms Related to PE-PUR foam Exposure
There are different symptoms linked to exposure to PE-PUR foam particles or gases. Many users are reporting skin and lung irritation, chest pressure, and headaches. While these symptoms often go away, there are links to life-threatening conditions as well.
The most severe of the conditions linked to Philips CPAP devices is cancer. PE-PUR is a known carcinogen, and there are numerous cases of bladder, liver, or lung cancer that could be related to the use of a CPAP device.
The Federal Government Issued Guidance Regarding the Potential Risks of Philips Devices
In response to the voluntary recall issued by Philips, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued what is known as a safety communication. This communication – which is like a press release – provides users of Philips CPAP devices with guidance on the recall.
Specifically, it identified the sound abatement foam within the CPAP devices as the reason for the recall.
In addition to explaining the reasons for the recall, the safety communication also provided guidance on how users of Philips CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilators should proceed. The first step involves a discussion with a primary care provider. You want to weigh the benefits and risks of continuing to use the Philips device until a replacement can be secured. It is also possible for other options to be available.
Users Are Advised to Follow Instructions Provided By Philips
The communication also included suggestions to follow the instructions of the manufacturer when it comes to cleaning or storing the device. According to Philips, some of the issues with these devices resulted from users cleaning them with non-approved substances.
Additionally, storing or using these devices in hot, humid places is also linked to the degradation of the sound abatement foam.
You Could Have Viable Alternatives to Philips CPAP Devices
The news of a recall for any health device can be shocking. This is especially true when the recall is related to serious medical conditions like cancer. Thankfully, there are alternatives available for many people moving forward.
Wait for a Replacement
Philips announced that they intend to offer repairs or replacements to everyone with a recalled CPAP device. While this might sound like the best option, even Philips acknowledges that this process could take years.
For many people living with sleep apnea, that kind of wait is not an option.
Make Lifestyle Choices
For some people, the best option is to make significant lifestyle choices that could eliminate the need for a CPAP device entirely. Sleep apnea could be reversed, especially for those with mild cases.
Losing weight, increasing exercise, and cutting out alcohol are all viable options. However, lifestyle changes alone are unlikely to be enough for serious cases.
Rely on a Different Brand
There are other options out there besides Philips brands. These devices remain on the market free from any recall notices, given that they do not include PE-PUR foam. This is the easiest option for individuals with resources, as there are numerous devices that do not include the harmful foam.
In fact, there are other Philips models that were not included in the recall that remain on the market. There are different reasons why these CPAP devices are still available. Some rely on types of technology other than PE-PUR foam for sound abatement purposes. In other models, the foam is installed in a way that will not lead to inhalation.
Talk to an Attorney from Our Firm If You Used a Philips CPAP Device
If you previously used Philips CPAP, BiPAP, or ventilator devices, it is understandable for you to have questions about a recall related to carcinogenic effects. These devices are tied to dangerous, life-altering health consequences. If you are living with any of the symptoms tied to Philips CPAP device use, you might have a viable case for compensation.
Our team is ready to help you investigate whether there is a link between your health condition and your previous use of Philips CPAP devices. To learn more, call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers for your free consultation at (855) 529-0269 today.