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