WEB EXCLUSIVE: Helium shortage deflating local balloon sales - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Helium shortage deflating local balloon sales

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Helium is not something most of us think much about, and that's probably why most of us have no idea there's a worldwide shortage of the gas.

Since we can't make it artificially, when we run out, that's all there is.

The shortage really is taking the air out of a popular industry as helium simply disappears into the air.

Balloon Land in South Tucson is feeling the pinch.

The store's helium suppliers have raised prices three times in the last month.

Balloon Land's owner, Maria Reyes, expects another price increase as early as next week.

Her helium-filled latex balloons once were 50 cents each.

Now they go for one dollar a pop.

To keep costs down, Reyes is having to redesign her elaborate balloon sculptures.

Instead of using hundreds and hundreds of helium-filled balloons, she attaches air-filled balloons to frames that she now has to build and install.

Reyes says helium is used in the medical field, and that industry gets first crack at available helium.

Helium is used to cool giant magnets, such as in MRI machines.

There are several reasons for the shortage.

Some believe the biggest one is that the price is simply too low and should be raised so helium will be conserved.

Some estimate that, at the rate we're going, the world could run out of the gas in just a few decades.

Then the party really will be over.

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