Helium Scarcity, Expense Could Make Party Balloons Disappear

ABILENE, Texas - People looking to buy balloons for their children's birthday party could be find the process difficult and more expensive.

The gas used to make balloons rise, helium, is becoming harder to get because it is becoming more scarce and because of an act that was passed by the federal government.

In 1996, Congress passed the Helium Act requiring the U.S. government to sell off its reserves by 2015. After that, all helium will be provided by private companies.

An expected shortage of helium could put a damper on children's parties.

KTXS talked to PrimeTime, a party facility in Abilene.

Wey Scoggin with PrimeTime Entertainment said balloons come with the cost of the party, but this could change in the future.

"Balloons will probably be as much as $100 a piece, so we probably won't have balloons at our parties," Scoggin said.

For people wanting extra balloons, it could be costly.

"We do charge per balloon when they ask for more than what we give them for free," Scoggin said.

Helium isn't just for balloons. It has various uses including MRI's and rocket fuel.

The party industry isn't the only one that this shortage could affect.

"It's a non-renewable resource, so it's not something we can just continue to get," Scoggin said.

The U.S. is the No. 1 provider of helium in the world.

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