You may have heard about it, but probably thought it was a joke… we’re about to run out of helium. It’s not a joke, it’s serious, and the effects go much farther than just the party/ balloon industry.
“Floating” which includes not only party balloons, but also the weather balloons, and the space balloons only accounts for about 3- 11% of the world’s helium usage. The larger part is used by the medical industry, the welding industry, and the tech industry. You see, helium, an inert gas, has a really low cooling point, and doesn’t combine with anything, which makes it ideal to use in such applications as cooling down MRI machines, and making the plasma for flat screen TVs.
Anyway, basically in 1996 congress passed an act that said that the US government, who also happens to be the owner of the world’s largest helium reserve, had to get out of the helium business as soon as they paid off the debts incurred by the federal helium reserve, or by 2015- whichever came first. Well, it would appear that the debt has been paid off faster than anyone thought, and that deadline is looming over us for Sept 30, 2013.
So, what does this mean? Helium is about to get really really expensive and hard to get unless this “do-nothing” congress does something … and fast!
But, if you’re planning a party, don’t worry, many of the best designs don’t require helium at all- in fact, using frames and air-filled balloons professional balloon companies can do some pretty amazing things. Take a look at some of the photos below… the thing that they all have in common? No helium required!