Everything You NEVER or EVER Wanted To Know About Balloons
ARE LATEX BALLOONS ECO FRIENDLY?
Latex is a 100-percent natural substance that breaks down both in sunlight and water. The degradation process begins almost immediately. Oxidation, the “frosting” that makes latex balloons look as if they are losing their color, is one of the first signs of the process. Exposure to sunlight quickens the process, but natural microorganisms attack natural rubber even in the dark.
Research shows that under similar environmental conditions, latex balloons will biodegrade at about the same rate as a leaf from an oak tree. The actual total degradation time will vary depending on the precise conditions.
Latex balloons come from rubber trees and are NOT made of PLASTIC.
Latex is collected by cutting the tree’s bark, then catching the latex in a cup.
Latex harvesting doesn’t hurt the tree!
Latex balloons are Earth-friendly! Rubber trees grow in rain forests.
Latex harvesting discourages deforestation because latex-producing trees are left intact.
A tree can produce latex for up to 40 years!
WHO IS AT RISK FROM LATEX ALLERGIES?
Latex allergies present a moderate to serious health problem for a very small percentage of the population in the United States. Reactions to naturally produced latex (latex is a milky sap produced by rubber trees) may range from minor skin irritation to reactions so severe that immediate emergency medical treatment is required to prevent death.
Incidentally, the most at risk of having an allergic reaction to latex are in the medical arena —doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, and certain patients. These people are exposed to latex gloves and equipment that has latex on it. However, patients need not lose out on the joy and entertainment that balloons brought to a hospital room bring. Since the late 1970s, the balloon industry and its retailers have been providing synthetic, Mylar balloons that offer a wide range of festive colors, unique shapes and messages that make people feel good.
WHAT HAPPENS TO BALLOONS
THAT FLY AWAY?
Often latex balloons are released either on purpose or accidentally. Research shows that most of these latex balloons— the ones that are well-tied and have no structural flaws— rise to an altitude of about five miles, where they freeze, breaking into spaghetti-like pieces that scatter as they return to earth. While we do know that animals occasionally eat these soft slivers of rubber, the evidence indicates that pieces ultimately pass through the digestive system without harming the animal. The balloon ribbon, however, does not break down. Lets keep our wildlife healthy and our environment litter free of balloons!
DON'T LET THEM GO...PIN IT AND BIN IT
WHEN WERE BALLOONS INVENTED?
Balloons were invented in 1824, the same year as the electromagnet. Balloons— in one form or another —have been around for centuries. But the modern latex balloon— the kind you can blow up yourself —was invented in New England during the Great Depression.
A chemical engineer, frustrated in his attempts to make inner tubes from this new product —liquid latex— scrawled a cat’s head on a piece of cardboard and dipped it in the latex. When it dried, Neil Tillotson had a “cat balloon,” complete with ears. He made about 2,000 balloons and sold them on the street during Boston’s annual Patriot Day parade.
In the late 1970s, silver metalized balloons were developed for the New York City Ballet. These balloons are commonly called Mylar, but they are actually made from a metalized nylon and are more expensive than latex balloons.
THE DANGERS OF INHALING HELIUM
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling and melting points are the lowest among the elements and it exists only as a gas except in extreme conditions.
Because it is lighter than air, balloons are inflated with helium for lift.
Helium alone is less dense than atmospheric air, so it will change the timbre of a person's voice when inhaled. This causes a reedy, duck-like vocal quality which some people find amusing.
However, inhaling it from a typical commercial source, such as that used to fill balloons, can be dangerous if done to excess, since helium is a simple asphyxiant and so displaces oxygen needed for normal respiration. Asphyxia is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. Breathing pure helium continuously causes death by asphyxiation within minutes. Inhaling helium directly from pressurized cylinders is extremely dangerous, as the high flow rate can result in barotrauma, , fatally rupturing lung tissue.
However, death caused by helium is quite rare.
Balloon People strongly recommends our readership not to inhale helium from balloons or directly from pressurized cylinders.
ARE BALLOONS A CHOKING HAZARD?
It is important that consumers be aware of suffocation hazards to children under eight years old who may choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
All domestically manufactured balloons carry a warning label with this information.
• Adult supervision is required.
• Keep uninflated balloons from children.
• Discard broken balloons at once.
** Important Balloon Information** Balloons are a choking hazard for all ages. Balloon People Balloon Artists have the right to refuse making a balloon for children under the age of three, or if he/she feels that a child will be put in danger with a balloon.
WHATS WITH THAT POPPING NOISE?
If the sound of a balloon popping startles you, you'’re not alone. A bursting balloon actually creates a small sonic boom! Once a hole is made in an inflated balloon, the quick release of the balloon’s energy, or air, causes the hole to grow at almost the speed of sound in rubber. Since this speed is much higher than the speed of sound in air, the hole in the balloon actually breaks the sound barrier, creating a sonic boom.