Popular Science News | Helium Shortage Affects Party Balloon Supply

Popular Science News – Helium is a non-renewable resource; much of the world’s reserves are stored in a natural underground reservoir near Amarillo, Texas. The gas is a by-product from the extraction of natural gas and it is estimated that half of the world’s reserves have so far been used. Unfortunately, the remaining half is difficult to extract and will therefore be expensive.

Party balloons containing helium are rapidly increasing in price, reflecting the shortage but some are calling for its ban in the entertainment trade. Although it will be a sad future if slightly intoxicated party-goers cannot breath in helium and say, “I’ve got a funny voice”, less hilarious will be the risk to sick patients. In medicine helium is used to cool MRI scanners and also in cutting edge research on respiratory illness. Apparently other gases can be used to check a patient’s lungs in order to see if different treatments are working but only helium is safe to breath.

I suggest that we should start a petition banning party balloons and calling for the government to introduce funny high pitch voice classes in our schools.


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