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Portable Oxygen Concentrator Resource Center

Over the Counter Oxygen Canisters: Do They Work?

Posted by Caleb Umstead on Oct 9, 2014 1:42:44 PM



You can find them in gas stations, grocery stores, and gift shops with ease. With up to 95% enriched oxygen in each bottle, it may be tempting to see what these over the counter oxygen canisters can do for your medical conditions, but before doing so you should know if they will actually benefit you. 

Marketing Techniques

Over the counter canned oxygen companies have a tricky way of advertising their product. By stating their canned oxygen is 95% pure, it can give you the idea that you can substitute your supplemental oxygen tanks or portable oxygen concentrator for a tiny portable canister. However, when looking at what these companies state their canisters can do, they leave their statements to be vary vague and let you assume the benefits. 

Intended Uses

Looking at multiple websites, these companies market their products towards athletes, seniors, people with hangovers, and a few other demographics. They claim their product can improve stamina and recovery in your muscles, boost your energy levels, diminish exposure to pollution, and more. However none of the statements have been evaluated by the FDA. 

Medical Value

By advertising their oxygen canisters as 95% pure enriched oxygen, it is very easy to see why anyone would think these canisters can have some medical value. Medical grade oxygen is concentrated to 90% and above. At 95% pure oxygen, these canisters seem to have the same oxygen concentration as medical grade oxygen. However, on their websites and packaging you may see small text stating that these canisters are not prescription or medical devices. They are strictly for recreational purposes. 

Final Verdict

Their claims and statements are not backed by the FDA. They have fine print stating their product is not a medical or prescription device. It is clear that these over the counter oxygen canisters should not be substituted for your oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrator. Aside from not being backed by the FDA and warning you that the product is not a medical device, the main reason these canisters will not work for oxygen patients is simple, the delivery method and reservoir of oxygen simply cannot match that of a concentrator or tank. A single over the counter canister can give you 50+ breaths before it is empty. The average breathing rate is 20 breaths per minute, meaning you would blow through one of these canisters in about 3 minutes. You also do not have the ability to control the amount of oxygen coming out of the canister, compared to your tank or concentrator that has adjustable flow rate settings. If you are curious as to if this will work for you in the event of an emergency, the safe answer is no. Always contact 911 or your physician in any emergency.

Traveling With Portable Oxygen eBook

+Caleb Umstead

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