Balloons filled with helium have been deemed ‘a waste’ by medical professionals who have plead to for an end to the gas being used in this way – due to fears of it running out.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has called to an end of its ‘frivolous’ use in balloons – supporting its conservation for medical uses in MRI machines and as Heliox (a helium/oxygen mix used to aid breathing).
Speaking at the BMA annual conference in Liverpool, anaesthetist Dr. Tom Dolphin said using helium in balloons was a ‘colossal waste’ of the element.
“This invaluable, irreplaceable gas is being literally handed to children in balloons so they can be entertained for a few minutes until they get bored and let go,” he told the conference.
“I’m not saying we should stop all party balloons, just those that we’re filling with extremely expensive, precious, non-renewable unique gases we’re going to miss when they’re gone.”
Dolphin was backed by BMA Chairman, Dr. Mark Porter, who said not enough attention was being paid to the issue.
Porter said, “It is central to a number of industries, a number of pursuits, but as doctors we know it is absolutely central to our ability to diagnose a number of patients which cannot be done in any other way by using current technology.”
The decision from BMA could be deemed to little to late, however, as the market has steadied itself thanks to new supply coming online around the world – allaying previous fears of a ‘helium cliff’.