Helium shortage ballooning - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Helium shortage ballooning

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BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - There is a ballooning worldwide shortage of helium.

At Party Max in the Boardman Plaza, there is a limit on the number of helium filled balloons you can buy.

Party Max says it has not run out like some stores, but their shipment of helium is down from a standard shipment of 12 tanks.

Sheila Leith says they're allowing Party Max to have two tanks at a time and after that the store has to wait until the next supply comes in. That's why the business is limiting helium filled balloons to 12 per customer.

To help you plan your perfect party, Party Max has a number of festive arrangements filled with air as an alternative to the helium.

Party Max says it came up with different alternatives, arches, balloon columns, mini columns, center pieces for tables. They have hanging options so the balloons still look like they're floating.

Although helium is the second most abundant element, it is getting harder to come by because helium is inert and has an extremely low boiling and melting point and its use in other industries is essential.

Helium is used in arc welding; it is used to cool the magnets in Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines that help detect cancer and tumors. It's used in many other health care applications such as lasers.

It's even essential to Internet use because helium is used to cool magnets in the manufacturing process of semi conductors used in almost all electronic devices today.

There are also space and military applications. Because essential orders are filled first, the ballooning shortage of helium is expected to continue.

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