*That* was a great article. The writer has great credibility to my
mind, as I am a registered nurse, former scuba instructor, and former
commercial pilot. I thought I knew a lot about oxygen. It turns out I
wasn't as well informed as I had assumed.
You guys really need to read this if you're interested in compressed
oxygen in any form.
The purity standard for welding O2 is higher than the purity standard
for medical O2. In reality all three normal grades you can get, welding,
medical and aviator exceed all of the standards. Only the analytical
grade is higher purity.
Nope. Why don't you look it up, starting with 1) the percentage of oxygen
and ending with 2) the levels of impurities.
You can't use welding O2 for medical purposes but you can use medical O2
Like I just said, the presence of impurities does not necessarily equate
to medical safety or have a health impact. If those impurities are
nitrogen or water vapor, then what exactly are the health implications
of those? We freeking breath them all the time - in concentrations
several orders of magnitude higher than what could possibly exist in a
tank of welding O2.
But if the analysis does not say what the impurities are, you are trading on
dangerous ground. That welding tank may have been used along with any
other gas used in industrial environments.
Lawyers and other sensible people that do not know what other gas may be in
there. Oxygen falls into the same type of situation ad drugs. The active
ingredients of a pill are often a small percentage of the tablet, the rest
being inert ingredients. There are regulations on what those inert
ingredients can be. There are regulations on how they are handled.
If I was dying in an emergency situation from lack of oxygen, I'd grab any
tank available. If I was at home with COPD, I'd want to be sure that tank
was handled in a proper manner and would not make me worse off.
You're stuck on old paranoia based on information that is decades out of
date. All of the O2 purity grades specify no more than 0.05% impurities,
and the most lax of the standards is the medical / aviator grade. The
reality is that all the grades are filled from the same cryo O2 source
and all are better than 99.99% pure O2.
I know how a medical tank was handled. I don't know anything abut a welding
tank. The oxygen may be pure going in, but I don't know what was in the
I'm not stuck on decades information, my son owns a medical supply company
that supplies oxygen. I worked part time for him filling tanks and
delivering LOX. We followed the regulations on medical oxygen. You are
free to breath whatever you like though.
So you are speculating that the average compressed-gas retailer or
supplier does not perform the same steps to evacuate / clean / what-ever
/ a welding tank that he (or you) does with a medical tank.
So you have a vested interest to maintain the impression that the
average citizen shouldn't or can't use less expensive welding oxygen
tanks in place of "medical" certified tanks for breathing or as a
I'm not speculalting; you are. I said I did not know but you are trying to
twist that. . Please don't lower yourself that way; it is not very
I have a vested interest in supplying proper care for patients. I'm not
maintaining any impression, I'm dealing with facts.
If it does not have that piece of paper, it is not medical oxygen. By
supplying anything else, a supplier can be sued, can lose accreditation. I
have a vested interest in complying with regulations. Use what you want,
but you won't get it from me. Nor will your insurance company pay for it if
not in compliance.
I know what is in medical oxygen and can trace the source. Until you can do
the same with welding oxygen, it is now allowed for patient use, now matter
how much you say it is the same. FWIW, the actual cost of oxygen has
little bearing on the cost of supplying it to a patient at home. It has no
bearing on how much a supplier is paid by Medicare or insurance,as that is a
fixed amount. They give the supplier $XX per month to cover the oxygen and
all associated supplies and costs. Some patient se 2X or 3X of others, butt
he amount paid is the same. If we could supply welding O2, it would be more
profitable, not less.
I've never stated either why what I think is done to returned welding
tanks prior to getting refilled.
The worst case situation is to assume that no special treatment is done
to them. They are simply connected to a compressor and they are
re-charged with O2, and probably using the same equipment, the same
valves and lines and the same source of O2 that are used to fill all O2
tanks that are sold or rented at that site, which could be for welding,
medical, or aviation use.
I said several times that you are proceeding from a point of view that
the handling and processing of returned welding tanks IS different from
that of medical tanks.
Let me ask you this:
If, hypothetically speaking, a compressed-gas supplier handled and
processed ALL returned O2 cylinders the same way (both welding and
medical cylinders) - which is to say that they are always cleaned,
evaculated, etc, according to medical-grade specifications, then what
would be your argument that an end-user shouldn't purchase a tank of
"welding grade" O2 for their own medical or veterinary purposes from
I agree that selling a tank of welding O2 to someone as a medical-grade
tank of O2 (and charging medical-grade prices) is wrong and probably
violates all sorts of laws and insurance policies.
But we are not talking specifically about that situation (product
If I buy welding O2 specifically for medical purposes, I agree that I am
taking some sort of risk that I have no recourse or remedy for should
the tank contain some harmful impurity. But I'm not convinced that a
medical tank has a lower probability of containing a harmful impurity
compared to a welding tank. The difference is that when I pay more for
a medical tank, I am in effect buying an insurance policy that allows me
to seek financial compensation. Perhaps I see no value in that
additional cost if the odds of any tank (welding or medical) containing
a harmful impurity are extremely low.
I said I don't know if there is a difference. You seem to have a difficult
time comprehending that. Once you do, you will realize there is no reason to
discus this any further. Feel free to assume I mean things I've never said
though, as long as you have fun.
I already replied to that. See the line above.
I'm working with facts, you are working with speculation and hypothetical
You are welcome to your opinion. It may or may not be correct. Find out for
sure and be at ease with your speculation.
You are not working with facts. You are working with pieces of paper.
It's ridiculous to say that two tanks that are handled identically
behind the scenes are nonetheless different because of a piece of paper.
Since you claim to have actually filled commercial medical O2 tanks,
tell me what analytical testing you did to insure that their purity was
99.95%. What lab equipment did you use to determine the purity of the
O2 in those tanks?
That piece of paper makes a big difference in the end use. It is not
medical oxygen without it, no matter your opinion. I suggest you take it up
with the FDA and have them change their ways. They make the rules, not me.
I read the piece of paper that came from the O2 supplier. He does the
analysis and certifies it, then we fill patient tanks from the bulk tanks.
That complies with regulations. If we did that with welding grade and
distributed it for patient use, we'd be subject to all sorts of fines and
I bought two tanks last year or two, and one was manufactured by a company
now out of business for twenty years. The tank had 800# pressure in it. It
was out of hydro.
I took it to one place, and they told me to unload it on to their dock, that
they were confiscating it, thank you very much. I said, not as long as it
was in back of my truck they weren't. I asked the man what they would do.
He said they would take the tank and give me nothing. He said they would
not trade it for another tank, or make one dollar worth of adjustment in the
I went it to place two. The guy said, yeah, they still see them every once
in a while, and they are considered a find that is worth $150 that can be
had for free if they can get it from you. They told me to take it home, and
grind all the rust and grunge and letters off around the collar, and bring
it back, and for $12 for hydro and the price of the fill, they would swap it
I told him that I had used it for cutting, and that I did believe that it
was oxygen. He gave me an OXYGEN sticker he said to slap on the bottle. He
said he was only doing it because it had 800# pressure in it. He said if it
came into the loading dock without a sticker, and with no pressure, it would
be treated as an unknown quantity, and would have to be tested, purged, and
possibly the tank would have to be rolled.
I asked him why he would do this, and the other company wouldn't. He said,
"I can't answer that, you will have to." Well, for me, it is a decent
enough solution. I was not grinding off the letters on a company that was
currently in business and that I knew owned the bottle. When the lease goes
out on one bottle I currently have with that company, I am going to return
it with a letter to corporate explaining why I will not be doing ANY
business with them. I had done nearly $5,000 worth of business with them
the year of this incident.
I think those little stickers (pieces of paper with glue on one side) are
also available in MEDICAL OXYGEN and would not be hard to locate and
Look! It's official. It has a piece of paper on it. It HAS to be MEDICAL
Unless one has the really spendy test equipment, you don't know what you
have. Oxygen to me would tend to be more likely to be pure, as mixing
contaminants would produce an explosive situation, and I really don't think
that most people would take the chance.
I'm still interested in seeing the answer to Ed's question on what test
equipment that guy uses to make sure they have medical oxygen. Maybe they
just look at that paper sticker for quality control.
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