VA: Stop Putting Veterans In Danger!

3,561 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

7.12% Complete

Sponsor: The Veterans Site

The VA provided veterans with CPAP machines that are now linked to increased incidents of cancer.


The VA lists the story of 54-year-old Air Force veteran Ralph Liggins on its website, one of many who live with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Liggins has been coping with the ailment for some 15 years and has it "really bad," he says1.

Frequent mini-breaks in breathing disrupt the body's autonomic nervous system and force the heart to work harder. With each pause, the sleeper inevitably wakes up to fix the issue and resume breathing, but broken sleep is not restful. This is how sleep apnea can cause a downward spiral in overall health. High blood pressure and other forms of heart disease can worsen. The risk of diabetes and depression go up. And as patients struggle to function on little sleep, they risk making mistakes and causing accidents.

The VA has supplied veterans like Liggins with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

The CPAP machine is one of the most effective treatments for OSA, as well as a variety of other conditions. CPAP users wear a mask while they sleep that gently forces air into the throat. That keeps the airway from collapsing, which is what causes breathing to stop. The device also helps snuff out snoring2.

However, millions of of these devices have been recalled after it was discovered that disintegrating polyurethane foam inside the breathing apparatus puts users at risk for serious disease, including asthma, headache, nausea and vomiting, hypersensitivity, respiratory problems, cognitive difficulties, and a number of different cancers. Foam used to dampen the machines' sound can degrade and emit small particles that irritate airways. Gases released by the degrading foam may also be toxic3.

Fire marshals refer to this foam as "solid gasoline." It is toxic and dangerous, and especially concerning in these machines because they channel carcinogen-tainted air directly into the body4.

Scientific studies have proven the growing link between veterans with OSA and subsequent cancer rates. The risk of cancer is nearly double in patients with an OSA diagnosis, using a CPAP machine, than in those without5.

Our veterans deserve the best medical care our country can afford. There is no reason their health should be put at risk because of badly designed or malfunctioning equipment.

Sign the petition below and demand the VA implement greater quality assurance standards for the medical equipment it provides veterans, and make amends for the many who are now living with serious disease because those standards haven't been in place.

More on this issue:

  1. Mitch Mirkin, VA Research Communications (18 June 2017), "Don't snore through this: Study aims to highlight risks of sleep apnea in African-Americans and potential benefits of treatment."
  2. Neil Woods, Woods and Woods, LLC (2021), "A Veteran's Guide to CPAP Machines."
  3. The Associated Press (14 June 2021), "Philips recalls ventilators, sleep apnea machines due to health risks."
  4. Sophia Ruan Gushee (20 October 2015), "A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures."
  5. Sebastian M Jara, Amanda I Phipps, Charles Maynard, Edward M Weaver, Otolaryngol Head & Neck Surgery (4 February), "The Association of Sleep Apnea and Cancer in Veterans."
To Top

The Petition:

To the Secretary of Veterans Affairs,

The recent recall of millions of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines around the world has exposed a horrific reality. Many American veterans living with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were given CPAP machines by the VA, and they've since been stricken with serious disease.

Gases and particles discharged from the polyurethane foam in these machines have been linked to asthma, headache, nausea and vomiting, hypersensitivity, respiratory problems, cognitive difficulties, and a number of different cancers.

Our veterans deserve the best medical care our country can afford. There is no reason their health should be put at risk because of badly designed or malfunctioning equipment.

I demand the VA implement greater quality assurance standards for the medical equipment it provides veterans, and make amends for the many who are now living with serious disease because those standards haven't been in place.

Sincerely,

To Top

Signatures: