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Balloons Might One Day Become Extinct — OK Whatever

Balloons Might One Day Become Extinct — OK Whatever
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Party balloons only come in at 7% of helium usage. But once the party’s over and the balloons pop or deflate, the gas rises and the helium is unable to be recovered. 

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If Robert Richardson, a physicist and Nobel prize laureate from Cornell University, had it his way, balloons would “cost about $100 apiece based on current helium supply.”

Though the price of balloons is rising, they cost nowhere near as much as Richardson would like. 

In the half-decade that she has worked at the party supply store, Price considers balloons only “a little bit more expensive” than when she started, estimating no more than a 25% increase in their price over the years.  

“Our latex balloons used to be $2.00. Now they’re $2.50,” Price gave as an example.

While the price increase may not seem like much, the market remains in limbo as sporadic shortages continue.

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“It’s not having an effect [at the moment]. But it’s possible it could start next shipment,” Price said. “I know that helium is used in MRI machines and other medical practices so of course it’s going to go to that first instead of balloons.”

So what will happen to balloons when we run out of helium? The outlook is not good. 

There is currently no other known solution that can be used to keep a balloon afloat in the same way that helium does. Granted, one could always return to using hydrogen to fill their balloons, like they did in the past, but combustible party decor is probably a hard sell for most customers.

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If a safer, more plentiful alternative for filling balloons is not found, we might one day lament those silly plastic bags filled with air that we took for granted. There’s a possibility something will come along and fill the void, but until that time, the future of the balloon is still up in the air.



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Current Events: 2023 | Infoplease

Current Events: 2023 | Infoplease

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