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.
Smart Balloon Practices
You can carry out smart balloon practices by following these tips.
Keep balloons secured to a weight. All helium-filled balloons should be tied securely to a weight that will keep them from releasing into the air; be sure to individually tie each balloon to the weight, so if they become detached from the weight, they will be individual rather than “clustered” (tied together) balloons which can more easily become entangled in power lines.
Do not release foil balloons into the air. Although it is very rare, they can cause problems if they are tangled in power lines and can turn into roadside litter if not disposed of properly.
Keep deflated or popped latex balloons away from small children to avoid risks of choking. Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; adults should always supervise young children —especially those under 8 years-old—with balloons.
Although it rarely occurs, some people are known to have a “latex allergy.” Talk to your customers to find out if this pertains to them or the person to whom they will be giving the balloons and educate them about how they can still purchase balloons and not be affected. Latex balloons are made of natural rubber latex and are biodegradable, but may cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to natural rubber latex.
Worldwide Helium Shortage
Helium is a non-renewable resource on this planet and must be refined to be used.
There are very few facilities where this refining can take place and refining plants often go off-line, causing shortages.
Helium is used to keep medical equipment cool and for other industries, such as welding.
Although there is sufficient helium to provide for current needs for 300 years, we believe that conserving this precious resource is important and we specialize in non-helium designs.
Helium prices have increased by over 150% over the last 5 years and will continue to increase.