Philips CPAPs

As of October 2022, Philips Respironics had recalled 5 million CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, nightly depended on by sleep APNEA patients who otherwise intermittently stop breathing during sleep.

Worse problems than APNEA, however, may result from using the machines.

Chemical exposure and off-gassing can create problems for patients using the machines and ventilators. The Philips design incorporates polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam into its machines to buffer the noise generated by forced air flow. When the foam breaks down over time, small toxic particles are released that prove extremely dangerous when inhaled by users.

1. Tiny particles of PE-PUR foam can break loose and work their way into the CPAP’s air pathway, causing the user throat irritation. The particles may be barely visible – small, black pieces of debris in the device’s outlet, humidifier, tubing or face mask. But often they are invisible to the naked eye.

2. As PE-PUR foam breaks down, it can give off toxic chemical fumes through a process called “off-gassing” that is difficult to detect especially when particles are invisible and more so because the fumes are colorless and odorless. The worst of these chemicals has been shown to cause several forms of cancer.

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