Stop Using Helium for Balloons

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In 1925, the United States Government created the National Helium Reserve (NHR)4 in Texas and, by 1929, was the largest producer of helium in the world; helium was produced only by the US Government until 1960, when Congress's Helium Act allowed for natural gas producers to produce helium for the government due to decreased demands in helium after the war. In 1996, the US Government privatized helium production to repay NHR4's debt, but privatization didn't produce as much helium as expected, leading other countries to produce helium. In 2012, US produced 78% of the world's helium, mostly from NHR4. With increased demand from countries like China and decreased supply from equipment failures and shutdowns, helium production is now in a shortage, with scientists declaring helium an endangered element. If helium usage is not reduced, the element could become extinct.

One easy way to reduce helium usage is by not using helium for balloons, instead replacing it with hydrogen where flammability is not an issue. Macy's is the second largest user of helium in the US, and other stores selling helium balloons must also do their part to conserve helium. Cryogenics can also rely on nitrogen for MRI scanner magnets and other super conductor applications, which the US military can use for some of its cryogenics. All of these things can help reduce the use of helium, a non-renewable resource.


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