In light of the current global helium shortage which has affected US retailer Party City and seen supplier BOC restrict sales for six months, Australia’s Pro Environment Balloon Alliance (PEBA) has issued a statement which will be helpful for balloon professionals to refer back to when questioned about their non-essential use of helium.
The statement, which can be seen in full on PEBA’s Facebook page, reads:
“Medical Helium is not used to inflate balloons. The helium used to inflate balloons is not pure enough for medical use. It is a by-product gathered during the production of medical grade helium. Instead of wasting this resource, it is collected and recycled. The sale of balloon gas offsets the cost of medical helium.
This recycled helium is use for weather balloons, scientific purposes and balloon gas. Reductions in demand can also be experienced due to increased recycling and increasingly efficient use of helium. The helium industry reports that non-essential market segments like the balloon industry sector are experiencing shortage of supply and absorbing large price increases due to the fact that essential markets receive their supply first.
The shortage is due to a number of factors that include global economic forces, political issues, rationing and unscheduled maintenance on a large helium facility.
Due to these fluctuations of supply and demand, the balloon industry is decreasing its reliance on helium by increasing our use of air-filled designs. Shortage and price increases provide incentives to reduce helium consumption and the industry is evolving accordingly. We are already reducing our helium consumption by stopping balloon releases, this is environmentally and economically responsible.”