Bot­tled air for 12 yuan: Is it hype or healthy?

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By GUO KAI in Bei­jing

Stop, don’t breathe. Hold it! OK, first pay 1.2 yuan ($0.17) if you want a chest full of clean, fresh air.

No, we are not kid­ding. The most pre­cious but free thing in the world — air — is now be­ing bot­tled and sold on e-com­merce plat­forms in China. The air comes from both home and abroad, priced from 5 to more than 200 yuan.

“Want to breathe the purest, fresh­est air? Then get a bot­tle of air from Wei­hai. No pol­lu­tants, ab­so­lutely pure. Ei­ther from the seashore or the moun­tains” one on­line ad­ver­tise­ment claims.

A bot­tle of fresh air from Wei­hai, in eastern China’s Shan­dong province, costs 5 yuan at on­line out­let Wei­hai Hongyu Diaoju.

Im­ported air is pricier. Vi­tal­ity Air from Canada costs 108 yuan for a 7.2-liter bot­tle and a 7.7-liter can­is­ter of air from New Zealand goes for 219 yuan.

How does it work? Open the bot­tle and take a deep breath. Vi­tal­ity Air of Canada pro­vides masks and the New Zealand air, which can be used around 180 times, comes with an in­jec­tor.

Sell­ers of Wei­hai air claim it has a long shelf life. Vi­tal­ity Air is good for a year and the New Zealand air has no ex­pi­ra­tion, as long as the bot­tle stays un­opened.

The owner of Wei­hai Hongyu Diaoju said that no one has yet to buy its air and that it was only a gim­mick to pique peo­ple’s cu­rios­ity.

One Vi­tal­ity Air sales­man said it was a use­less nov­elty (but still made five trans­ac­tions in a month). Vi­tal­ity Air said on WeChat the com­pany has sold 10,000 bot­tles in the eight months af­ter May 2015.

So far, there are no reg­u­la­tions or stan­dards for bot­tled air in China. An of­fi­cial from the com­merce and in­dus­try au­thor­ity said that China has no spe­cial laws and reg­u­la­tions on ban­ning such a prod­uct from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

Zhang Xuem­ing, a Bei­jing lawyer spe­cial­iz­ing in prod­uct qual­ity and safety, said the im­ported air could have safety is­sues be­cause of the pres­sur­ized con­tain­ers, which should be reg­is­tered and ap­proved by the au­thor­i­ties.

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