Have you heard about the helium shortage? What about the helium cliff? There’s a good possibility that if congress doesn’t do something fast, we won’t have helium anymore. But does that mean no more balloons? No! There’s tons of stuff we can do without helium- in fact the best designs don’t even require helium.
This video was made over the summer, so some of the info in it has changed a little. One change is that many of us thought that we had until 2015 before hitting the helium cliff, but because of the “fire-sale” of helium, we may hit the $1.3 billion threshold by the end of this month! (september 2013). If that doesn’t make any sense to you, basically in 1996 a law was put into effect saying that by 2015 OR by the time the government paid off the $1.3 billion deficit on the federal helium reserve, the US had to get out of the business of selling helium. Only problem is that they own 70% of the worlds supply. Watch the video to learn more.
UPDATE: The senate just passed a bill to extend the deadline for the government to continue selling helium. Now the question is How much will this affect helium prices and availability for balloons? Here’s an article with more info… http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/19/us-usa-helium-idUSBRE98I0YI20130919
And here’s another one… http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324807704579085511270588026.html
It looks as though helium is safe until the end of 2014, and then it will be privatized and sold off to private groups and distributors. I predict that prices are going to go way way up when that happens.
President Obama approved the senate bill, which now needs to go back to the house for approval. Obama was quoted calling “helium an essential resource for the aerospace industry and production of computer chips and optical fiber, as well as medical uses including MRI machines and medical lasers. Helium also is used in national defense applications such as rocket engine testing and purging, surveillance devices and scientific balloons.”
Notice that though the white house referenced scientific balloons, there’s nothing in there about party balloons. So even though we can breathe for now, I don’t think that this is the end of the story for the party industry.
So, as I advised in the video, I would get comfortable with air-filled decor and designs and start requesting that from your balloon company.
If you’re really interested, here’s a link to the actual bill – it talks a lot about market rates, and we have been getting helium at below market rates, so it will be very interesting to see what develops from this… http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/senate-bill/783
This article was written by Sandi Masori
Sandi Masori wears many hats; professional balloon artist, marketer, educator, serial dieter, mother, wife and now author. Her passions are balloon art, travel, and online/ offline marketing. Sandi grew up in San Diego, Ca and after traveling around the world making balloons, she returned to San Diego, where she now lives with her husband and two children. When Sandi is not writing books, she runs Balloon Utopia (and Market With Balloons)- a San Diego based balloon decor and entertainment company, and The Masori Group, a San Diego based online/ offline marketing company. She also coaches and mentors marketing consultants and small business owners. Just to make sure that she truly has no free time, she also runs the WeightLossInSanDiego blog. In the precious spare time that she has between juggling those interests, Sandi likes to hang out with her family, read books, see movies, travel and hunt for the best Sushi in town.