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Who Qualifies for a CPAP Lawsuit?

On this page, we will explain who could be eligible to file a CPAP recall injury lawsuit in the Philips CPAP class action MDL. We will summarize the general eligibility criteria that our lawyers are currently using to screen these cases; and we will also provide a list of the relevant injuries associated with the recalled CPAP devices.

About the Philips CPAP Recall Lawsuits

In June 2021, medical device company Philips issued a massive recall of nearly all of its Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) devices. The recall was initiated due to concerns about potential health risks associated with the use of foam used in the devices’ sound abatement foam. The foam may degrade over time, leading to the release of particles and gases that could be inhaled or ingested by the user.

The affected devices were manufactured between 2009 and April 2021 and include various models of CPAP and BiPAP machines, as well as certain mechanical ventilators. The recall was categorized as a Class I recall by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), indicating that there is a reasonable probability of serious adverse health consequences or death associated with the use of the recalled devices.

The foam particles and gases potentially inhaled by recalled CPAP device users included a number of chemicals known to be toxic and linked to cancer. This meant that individuals who were using one of the recalled CPAP machines may have been unknowingly inhaling carcinogenic particles every night for long time periods.

Very soon after Philips launched the CPAP recall, the first CPAP product liability lawsuits started getting filed across the country. The lawsuits were filed by former users of the recalled CPAP devices who alleged that they suffered severe injuries (including cancer) due to exposure to toxic foam particles. The lawsuits also accused Philips of ignoring the problem for years before issuing the recall. The CPAP lawsuits were eventually consolidated into a class action MDL that is still pending.

Eligibility Criteria to File a CPAP Recall Injury Lawsuit

In order to be eligible to file a CPAP recall lawsuit against Philips and participate in the class action MDL (and any eventual global settlement), you need to meet certain requirements. The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:

You Used a Philips CPAP Device: In order to qualify for a CPAP lawsuit, you have to be able to show that you actually used one of the Philips CPAP or BiPAP machines that were recalled because they contained the toxic foam. The Philips CPAP devices had model names such as “DreamStation”, but most had the Philips name or logo somewhere on the device.

You Used the CPAP Device Prior to June 2021: Claimants will need to show that they regularly used one of the recalled Philips CPAP devices for at least 6 months prior to July 1, 2021. That is the date that the Philips CPAP recalled took effect, so they can only be liable for use that occurred prior to that date.

Diagnosed With a Qualifying Disease: Potential CPAP claimants will need to show that after their use of the recalled CPAP device, they were diagnosed with one of the medical conditions or cancers that have been linked to the chemicals in the CPAP foam. The qualifying disease or medical conditions include: lung cancer, head & neck cancer, Stage 4 COPD, pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, liver cancer, kidney cancer, kidney failure or kidney disease.

Injuries Associated With Recalled CPAP Devices

The diseases or medical conditions that qualify as potential injuries linked to exposure to the toxic chemicals in the recalled CPAP devices have been ranked into tiers based on how strong the evidence is linking them to the CPAP foam.

Injuries in the top tier are those with the strongest link to the toxic CPAP foam. Those in the lowest tier have the weakest link. Below is a list of the CPAP injury tiers.  Keep in mind our CPAP lawyers have made up the tiers ourselves.

Tier I CPAP Injuries

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the U.S. with around 230,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Lung cancer accounts for 142,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, more than any other type of cancer.

Lung cancer comes in 2 different types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The 5-year survival rate for non-small cell lung cancer (all stages) is 23%. For small-cell cancer, the overall 5-year survival rate is even lower at 7%. This makes lung cancer one of the more dangerous types of cancer.

Head & Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer refers to a group of cancers that originate in the tissues of the head and neck region, including the oral cavity, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), salivary glands, nose, and sinuses. These cancers can arise in the mucosal surfaces lining these areas and are often categorized based on their location and the type of cells involved. The different specific types of head and neck cancer include:

  • Oral Cavity Cancer
  • Pharyngeal Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer
  • Salivary Gland Cancer

The prognosis varies based on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed and the specific type of cancer. Early detection and prompt treatment significantly improve outcomes.

Tier II CPAP Injuries


Sarcoidosis is a rare disease characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells, known as granulomas, in different parts of the body—most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, and skin. The exact cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, but it is believed to involve an abnormal immune response. The disease can affect people of any age, but it typically presents in adults between the ages of 20 and 40.

Symptoms of sarcoidosis vary widely depending on which organs are affected. In cases where the lungs are involved, symptoms might include a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Skin manifestations can include lumps, ulcers, or areas of discolored skin. Eye symptoms may include blurred vision, eye pain, severe redness, and sensitivity to light.

The severity of sarcoidosis in people who used the recalled CPAP vary significantly. Some people who used the recalled Phillips CPAP report mild symptoms (or none, of course), while others may have severe, life-altering symptoms. In many cases, the disease appears briefly and then resolves on its own without treatment. However, in others, sarcoidosis can become chronic and may lead to organ damage. These are the strongest CPAP sarcoidosis claims.

Stage 4 COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that encompasses various stages of severity. Stage 4 COPD, also known as very severe or end-stage COPD, represents the most advanced and debilitating stage of the condition. COPD is characterized by persistent airflow limitation and difficulty breathing, and it includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

In stage 4 COPD, individuals often experience severe limitations in their lung function, with a significant decrease in airflow. Symptoms become more pronounced, and the quality of life is markedly impaired. Common symptoms at this stage may include:

Management of stage 4 COPD focuses on relieving symptoms, improving the individual’s quality of life, and preventing further complications. Treatment options may include bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and in some cases, surgical interventions such as lung transplantation.


Pneumonitis is an inflammation of the lung tissue. It’s a general term that describes a non-infectious inflammatory reaction within the lung. There are lots of causes, including environmental triggers, certain medications, radiation therapy, and autoimmune conditions.  So it certainly tracks that the chemicals in the recalled CPAPs cause pneumonitis.  There is no argument that the condition is not caused by chemical exposure.  You also see medication-induced pneumonitis where drugs lead to an inflammatory reaction in the lungs as a side effect.

The symptoms of pneumonitis can vary depending on the cause and severity, but common signs include:

  • Cough, often dry
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fever and chills in some cases
  • Chest discomfort or tightness

Patients who used the recalled CPAPs should be evaluated if they have these symptoms. Diagnosing pneumonitis usually involves a combination of a clinical examination, imaging tests like chest X-rays or CT scans, pulmonary function tests, and sometimes a biopsy of lung tissue.

Treatment for pneumonitis focuses on reducing inflammation and avoiding further exposure to the causative agent. It may include:

  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
  • Identifying and eliminating exposure to the irritant or allergen.
  • Adjusting or discontinuing causative medications under medical supervision.
  • Oxygen therapy in cases where breathing is significantly affected.

Left untreated, pneumonitis can lead to irreversible scarring of the lung tissue, known as pulmonary fibrosis, which can severely impact lung function and quality of life.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickening and scarring of the tissue make it difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become progressively shorter of breath.

The scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by a multitude of factors. In many cases doctors can’t really pinpoint what’s causing the problem. When a cause can’t be found, the condition is termed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

So the question in the CPAP litigation will always be finding a doctor who links the fibrosis and the derogated chemicals in the CPAP. You need two things: a general causation expert to say that the chemicals in the CPAP can cause pulmonary fibrosis and a specific causation expert who says that this happened to you.

The development of the disease over time varies from person to person.  Some people have a condition so mild it is probably not a viable CPAP claim.  For other, it is awful.  Some people become ill very quickly with severe disease. Others have moderate symptoms that worsen more slowly, over months or years.

Various factors can increase the risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, including certain environmental exposures (such as to dust from wood, metal, textile, or stone), smoking, genetic factors (some types of pulmonary fibrosis run in families), and some viral infections.  This is why our lawyers expect CPAP settlements to be less for victim with pulmonary fibrosis who smoked.

The tough thing about pulmonary fibrosis is that the scarring that occurs cannot be reversed. No treatments in 2024 are effective in stopping the progression of the disease. However, medications can sometimes help to ease symptoms and improve quality of life. The main treatment options include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and lung transplant in severe cases.

The fact that lung damage from pulmonary fibrosis cannot be repaired is why these may be very strong claims.  Permanent injuries drive settlement amounts. But for some patients, medications and therapies can sometimes help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. For some people, a lung transplant might be appropriate. If that injury can be linked to the CPAP, that is a huge case.

Tier III CPAP Injuries

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer, also known as hepatic cancer, refers to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the liver. It is a serious and often life-threatening condition that can develop either within the liver itself (primary liver cancer) or as a result of cancer spreading from other parts of the body (metastatic liver cancer).

The prognosis for liver cancer varies based on the stage at diagnosis and the effectiveness of treatment. Early detection improves the chances of successful treatment. Unfortunately, liver cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, which can limit treatment options and affect overall prognosis.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a type of cancer that originates in the kidneys, which are vital organs responsible for filtering and eliminating waste products from the blood to form urine. The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), accounting for the majority of cases. There are also other less common types of kidney cancer, such as transitional cell carcinoma and Wilms tumor, which primarily affects children.

Kidney cancer is the 7th leading cause of cancer among men in the United States. Kidney cancer is twice as common in men than in women.

Contact Our CPAP Lawyers

Find out if you may be able to file a CPAP lawsuit against Philips and receive substantial financial compensation. Call our medical device lawyers today at 888-322-3010 or contact us online.