Nationwide class action filed against Oxy Beverage for false health benefit claims

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Steve Larson
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The Austrian company called Oxy Beverages Handelsgesellschaft mbH (“Oxy Beverage”) has been named a defendant in a class action for allegedly making fraudulent claims that its oxygen-infused Oxygizer water increases the level of oxygen in the human body and thereby improves athletic performance and recovery time, when in fact such effects are physiologically impossible.  The suit claims consumers paid a steep premium for the product, with half-liters of Oxygizer costing $3.25. 

The complaint alleges that Oxy claims that its Oxygizer water contains 3,000 percent more molecular oxygen than regular water, and therefore aids in the body’s detoxification process, increases metabolism, relieves stress, improves immune function and provides calorie-free energy.  Such benefits, however, are impossible because every peer-reviewed study on the matter has concluded that oxygen cannot be absorbed by humans through the ingestion of liquid, and any claims of the water’s health benefits are no greater than would be true for ordinary municipal tap water.

“Unlike fish, which use gills to absorb oxygen through water, human beings absorb oxygen through their lungs and cannot absorb oxygen into their bloodstream through the ingestion of water or other liquids,” the complaint said. “More oxygen is brought into the human system through a single breath than would be by drinking any number of bottles of the defendants’ expensive beverage.”

The complaint further alleges that in marketing and promotional materials, the company has blatantly misrepresented a scientific study conducted by an Austrian researcher named Dr. Wolfgang Marktl, claiming that Marktl’s research supports its claims when he, in fact, determined that the consumption of oxygenated water does not enhance aerobic performance at all.

The complaint also alleges that any claims of infused oxygen are essentially irrelevant because most of the additional oxygen in the bottle escapes once the bottle is opened through the process of diffusion..  The complaint also rejects the company’s claim that Oxygizer utilizes a patented technique, when, in fact, no nation’s patent authority has issued a patent for the process, “which consists of merely pumping pure oxygen into a bottle of water and sealing the bottle.”  The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages and an injunction forcing the company to rename the product and discontinue its alleged misrepresentations. 

In 1999, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Rose Creek Health Products Inc., which sold a product called Vitamin O that also purported to deliver health benefits via oxygen-infused water, saying the company’s promotion of the water constituted false advertising on the grounds that gastrointestinal oxygen absorption is impossible. That company ultimately paid $375,000 to end the suit.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles, CA, where Oxy Beverages runs its American operations.  Click on this link (Gharzarian v. Oxy Beverages) to see a copy of the complaint.