medical oxygen cylinders

What is Medical Oxygen?

Air Source Industries started as an ambulance company and expanded to deliver medical grade oxygen to medical facilities around Los Angeles county. Today, we supply medical oxygen (USP – United States Pharmacopoeia), aviator’s breathing oxygen (ABO), and industrial oxygen all over the greater Los Angeles area. Our friendly customer service team can help you select the correct oxygen grade for your needs and schedule next-day oxygen delivery.

You may have frequently heard the terms oxygen and medical oxygen interchangeably in different settings but we want you to know there is a big difference between regular oxygen and medical oxygen in the compressed gas world. Let’s walk you through the differences between medical and industrial oxygen, medical-grade oxygen uses, and common misconceptions about oxygen.

What are the Differences Between Medical Oxygen and Industrial Oxygen?

Medical oxygen is high purity oxygen that is used for medical treatments and is developed for use in the human body. Medical oxygen cylinders contain a high purity of oxygen gas; no other types of gases are allowed in the cylinder to prevent contamination. There are additional requirements and rules for medical oxygen, including requiring a person to have a prescription to order medical oxygen.

Industrial oxygen is focused on uses in industrial plants including combustion, oxidation, cutting and chemical reactions. The industrial oxygen purity levels are not appropriate for human use and there could be impurities from dirty equipment or industrial storage that could make people ill.

FDA Sets Requirements for Medical Oxygen

Medical oxygen requires a prescription as the US Food and Drug Administration regulates medical oxygen. The FDA wants to assure user safety and that patients are getting the correct percentage of oxygen for their needs. As people are different sizes and require different amounts of medical oxygen for their specific medical conditions, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why patients are required to visit their doctor and get a prescription for medical oxygen.

The FDA also requires the medical oxygen cylinders to be free of contaminants and there to be a chain of custody to verify that the cylinder is only being used for medical oxygen. Cylinders that had been previously used for other purposes wouldn’t be used for medical-grade oxygen unless the cylinders were evacuated, thoroughly cleaned, and labeled appropriately.

Air Source Industries is registered with the FDA and is authorized to fill medical oxygen cylinders for patients with a valid prescription.

Common Medical Oxygen Uses and Misconceptions

Medical oxygen is used in a variety of settings. Commonly medical oxygen is administered in medical facilities like hospitals and clinics. It’s used during anesthesia, first aid resuscitation for emergencies, life support for patients who can’t breathe on their own, and oxygen therapy.

You can read about how athletes use medical oxygen in specific situations like high altitudes and training in our blog post.

Common Oxygen Misconceptions

A common belief is that we are breathing 100% oxygen in our atmosphere. That’s not true. The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen and 78 percent nitrogen. The last 1% is a mix of other gases like carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Another common misconception is that people need high purity oxygen that’s close to 100% oxygen for certain occupations or uses. For example, high purity grade oxygen would not be used for firefighting, deep-sea diving, or other uses. Most of these situations use regular air or ABO gas that is often filtered and chilled for user comfort.

Our friendly customer service team is happy to answer your oxygen questions and help you select the appropriate oxygen grade for your needs.


When you need reliable, high-quality medical-grade oxygen, Air Source Industries is your trusted partner. We offer high purity medical oxygen and we’ll fill to specifically match your prescription needs.

Let our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team answer your questions about medical oxygen delivery. They will help you determine the right medical oxygen solutions for you. Fill out our online form for a free gas quote or call us at (562) 426-4017 to get started.