This is not hot air

November 1, 2011

Take a pass on Helium-filled balloons

Helium balloons have become part of birthdays, weddings and carnivals because they’re fun.  But maybe we need to rethink them.

Here’s why: Helium is a very limited resource.  We get it from within the earth – but there’s only so much on our planet, and once it’s lost to the atmosphere, it’s impossible to recover or recycle.  Helium is vital to many industrial and medicinal uses, like welding, fibre optics and the MRI machines used in hospitals everywhere.  At our current rate of Helium use, however, shortages can be expected in 25-30 years.  Yikes!

Given that reality, conservation seems a wise strategy.  Most people would agree that MRI machines are probably more important than party balloons.  So perhaps we should collectively reserve our limited supply of Helium for the most important uses, and take a pass on frivolous uses like party balloons.

(Click here for more information on the coming shortage of Helium.)

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