Residents of Mongolia are drinking ‘oxygen cocktails’ and ‘lung tea’ to help protect themselves from air pollution.
Sold for as little as $1, adverts in Mongolia claim ‘drinking just one oxygen cocktail is equal to a three-hour-walk in a lush forest’.
Yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) states there is no scientific evidence supporting such drinks’ benefits.
Slum dwellers who are forced to use coal stoves to cook and heat their homes in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where temperatures can plummet to as low as -40C, are thought to be driving the problem.
According to UNICEF, Ulaanbaatar is the most polluted capital city in the world, with an air pollution level 133 times higher than the safe limit set by the WHO.
Respiratory infections in the capital have nearly tripled, with pneumonia being the leading cause of death in under five-year-olds, data from UNICEF shows.
Residents of Mongolia are drinking ‘oxygen cocktails’ and ‘lung tea’ to help protect themselves from air pollution (pictured: Ulaanbaatar, the most polluted capital city in the world)
No scientific evidence supporting ‘oxygen cocktails’
For $2, shopping centres are selling cans of oxygen called ‘Life is Air’ with the promise of turning an ordinary glass of juice into an ‘oxygen cocktail’.
Many pharmacies also are stocking machines that turn juice frothy for as little as $1 and are recommended by doctors for pregnant women.
Some Mongolian residents are also turning to special teas in an effort to clean their lungs, with sales rising up to 30 per cent when pollution peaks during winter.
Baatar Chantsaldulam, CEO of ‘lung-tea’ company Dr. Baatar, told AFP: ‘First it takes all the toxins out of the blood, then it turns the toxins in the lung into mucus, and all the plants in tea helps boost the human immune system.’
Yet, Maria Neira, head of the WHO's public health department, said the only way to minimise the effects of pollution is to avoid exposure, adding there is no scientific evidence oxygen cocktails or lung teas have any benefit.
Women exposed to air pollution before getting pregnant are nearly 20 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects, research suggested in January 2018.
Living within 5km of a highly-polluted area one month before conceiving makes women more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palates or lips, a study by University of