Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Helium?

Helium is environmentally safe, non-toxic and non flammable. Helium should not be inhaled, as it displaces the oxygen in your lungs, causing serious lung injuries. Do not inhale helium from a balloon or a helium tank under any circumstances.

Helium — The Sun Gas
The Helium Market
Early Helium Recovery Efforts
Helium from theBureau of Land Management System

Helium Fact Sheet

  • Helium is a limited, natural resource
  • On Earth it is created by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium.
  • In our atmosphere, the amount of helium by volume is only 5.2 ppm (vs Argon at .93%)
  • Natural gas can contain helium under certain geological conditions.
  • The amounts range from trace levels to about 5% BY VOLUME.
  • The Helium Act of 1925, authorized the US Bureau of Mines to build and operate a loarge-scale helium extraction and purification plant. It paid dividends quickly as it provided the US and its World War II allies a critical supply of helium.
  • By the mid 1950’s, as natural gas demand increased, some helium rich sources began to dwindle. At this time, US Natural gas demand increased so dramatically much o the nation’s potential helium reserves were being vented to the air.
  • With the Helium Act Amendments of 1960 came the privatization of helium. the US congress then provided incentives to natural gas producers to strip helium from natural gas and sell it to the United States for long term strategic storage.
  • Without the foresight of the US Congress and The 1960 Act, US industry might have had to rely on foreign sourced supplies of helium with the possibility of more frequent supply interruptions, plus the potential of foreign price cartels and geopolitical supply situations similar to what we experience with the supply of oil today.
  • The helium Privatization Act of 1996 was signed by President Clinton on October 9, 1996.This law directed the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to cease pure helium production and to offer for sale the approximately 29+Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) of crude helium (CHe) in the Federal Reserve.
  • The Federal Reserve fields contained about 25.5 BCF at the end of fiscal year 2005.
  • The United States represents 21% of the worlds known helium reserve. It produces 77% percent of the world’s annual consumption.
  • Helium produced in Algeria, Poland and Russia is sold almost exclusively into European markets, and helium produced in Qatar is sold exclusively into Asian markets. these countries combined own 79% of the worldwide helium reserves yet produced only 23%.
  • According to the US Department of Commerce, US domestic consumption of helium declined between 2000 and 2005 at an average of 2.3% per year.
  • Exports however, increased at an average rate of 7.5% per year over the same five year period, reflecting demand increases in emerging economies where helium is not produced.
  • In 2005, US consumption decreased 4.7 percent, but exports increased by 16.9%.

2. How long will my balloons float?

It depends on the size of the balloon. The larger the balloon, the more helium used, therefore the longer the balloon will last. Generally foil balloons last longer than latex balloons. We also use a flight extender treatment which allows the balloons to last 5 times longer then without treatment. Also, most of our sculptures are nitrogen filled and the balloons last up to one month or longer, depending on the enviroment.

3. Are latex balloons bio-degradable?
Yes! Latex balloons are made from bio-degradable rubber tree sap and are environmentally safe. Latex balloons bio-degrade at the same rate as an oak leaf.

Latex balloons are made from 100% natural latex — not plastic. Our latex balloons are biodegradable, and decompose as fast as an oak leaf in your backyard!

The natural rubber latex that is used to make latex balloons comes from the rubber tree , Hevea Brasiliensis, that grows in Malaysia, Asia and Africa. Contrary to popular belief, latex is not the trees sap which is the vital liquid needed for growth. Tiny vessels under the rubber trees bark are the source of the worlds rubber supply.

Latex is collected by “tapping” the trees. The tree trunk is scored (cut with a knife)halfway across its width. The score is made about a millimeter deep and slanted downward at a 30 degree angle and is repeated every second or third day with each cut made directly below the previous one.

Scoring the bark opens the tubes, and the cut “weeps” or oozes latex for about two hours. A small spout inserted into the bark directs the liquid into a collect cup. Once removed from the tree, the liquid is called latex. This latex looks like milk and is shipped to America in large ocean tanker ships.

Latex balloons are Earth-friendly! Rubber trees grow in rain forests. Latex harvesting discourages deforestation because latex-producing trees are left intact. A tree can produce latex for up to 35 years!

Balloons were invented in 1824, the same year as the electromagnet.
Pioneer manufactures nearly one billion Qualatex latex balloons per year.

Balloon Creations By Carolyn always hand ties all our balloons. We do not us plastic ties or disks.

I put together a presentation for LeTip. This is from my research. I came up with a conservative average size and number of balloons we use per year in our business. That average is 400,000 11″ latex balloon. Each Hevea Brasiliensis tree, better know as the “Rubber Tree”, only produces enough sap (latex) to make two 11″ latex balloons per day! 400,000 balloons divided by 2 (latex harvested per day per tree) is 200,000. Divide that by 365 days per year is 548. So for just us, Balloon Creations By Carolyn, in Sacramento California, 548 trees somewhere in Asia or Africa work every day of the year to support just our business alone!

The rubber tree starts producing latex when they are seven years old, and give latex until they are around thirty five years old. That is twenty eight years of work for our trees. Our trees and us, are now in our 19th year of business, and we hope with your support, in 9 years when our trees retire, we can too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aztMri15R7A (Fast forward till you see rubber trees)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KekZKxroPss&feature=related

There are lots of youtube videos online.

ALSO- The more balloons (latex products), the more rubber trees. And with the destruction of forests a prime environmental concern, that is an important point. Besides giving us latex, the rubber trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, counteracting global warming.

ALSO- Latex products are recycled and can be transformed into all kinds of rubber items: windshield wipers, car bumpers, sports equipment, and more.

4. Should we try to do the balloons ourselves?
Surely, it would be cheaper. Unless the balloons are Professionally treated with a flight extending product, they will only float for approximately 8 – 10 hours. Because of this fact balloon decor is typically created on the wedding day. Without inflation experience, it will take the average person approximately 2 hours to inflate 100 balloons. Also, most balloon wedding decorators offer excellent prices on pre-inflated bulk balloons, so that by the time you buy the uninflated balloons, rent the helium tank and inflator, and buy ribbon, the difference in price is so small as to be insignificant compared to the inconvenience caused by trying to do the balloons yourselves.

5. What is a CBA?
A Certified Balloon Artist through the Qualatex Balloon Network, have undergone extensive training in the application of key design elements in balloon decor. This is the most comprehensive certification program in the professional balloon industry to ensure all participating members are knowledgeable and dedicated professionals.

6. How do I choose a balloon company that’s right for our wedding?
Some Professional balloon decorators actually specialize in wedding decor. The True Professionals, who specialize in wedding work, exhibit at the premium bridal shows, during the beginning of each year. This offers you an excellent opportunity to compare the work in their portfolios, and enjoy incentives and packages they offer during the show. You might also ask the reception site coordinator for recommendations. Most hotels and halls have worked with several companies and know the true professionals.

When you meet the balloon artist that is right for you, you will feel it. That person should be professional and make you feel comfortable and confident in their artistic and professional ability. They will take time to listen to you and they will offer suggestions that will achieve the look and effect that you want, not just what they want to sell you.

Some questions for you to ask are:
– Do they have recent references?
– May you speak with one of their references?
– Do they have insurance? Ask for proof.
– Have they ever decorated your site? Do they have pictures of your site decorated?
– Do they offer wedding packages?
– Are they willing to do small, intimate decor, or only large extravagant decor?
– Is delivery and set up included?
– Would it be possible for you to visit a site in the near future to observe their work?
– Are they a Qualatex CBA (Certified Balloon Artist)?

7. Why should I be careful with Metallic balloons outside?
Helium filled balloons can be dangerous if they become tangled in power lines. Loose balloons, especially metallic/foil/mylar balloons, can cause power outages and may cause wires to fall to the ground resulting in property damage, fire, and even injury or death. Avoid potential balloon hazards by following these tips.

NEVER let helium balloons drift away outdoors.

NEVER try to retrieve balloons caught in a power line. And NEVER go near a downed power line or dangling wire.

8. What happens when a balloon pops?
If the sound of a balloon popping startles you, you’re not alone. A bursting balloon actually creates a small sonic boom! Once a hole is made in an inflated balloon, the quick release of the balloons energy, or air, causes the hole to grow at almost the speed of sound in rubber. Since this speed is much higher than the speed of sound in air, the hole in the balloon actually breaks the sound barrier, creating a sonic boom.

9. How many balloons does Balloon Creations By Carolyn use per year?
I put together a presentation for LeTip. This is from my research. I came up with a conservative average size and number of balloons we use per year in our business. That average is 400,000 11″ latex balloon. Each Hevea Brasiliensis tree, better know as the “Rubber Tree”, only produces enough sap (latex) to make two 11″ latex balloons per day! 400,000 balloons divided by 2 (latex harvested per day per tree) is 200,000. Divide that by 365 days per year is 548. So for just us, Balloon Creations By Carolyn, in Sacramento California, 548 trees somewhere in Asia or Africa work every day of the year to support just our business alone!

The rubber tree starts producing latex when they are seven years old, and give latex until they are around thirty five years old. That is twenty eight years of work for our trees. Our trees and us, are now in our 19th year of business, and we hope with your support, in 9 years when our trees retire, we can too!

10. What is the Qualatex Balloon Network about?
The Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN) unites and supports businesses that offer value-added balloon designs featuring Qualatex products.

QBN Business Members are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in balloon decor and bouquets.

They’re committed to sound and honorable business practices, continuing education, and the belief that balloons create atmosphere and communicate emotion in a uniquely effective way.

They believe that the high quality of the products they sell and the professionalism in the services they offer, provide superior value to their customers and form the foundation for the future success of businesses featuring value-added balloon designs.

11. What is a Certified Balloon Artist (CBA)?
A CBA is a balloon professional who has:
* Taken and passed (with a score of 80% or above) all of the QBN tests
* Taken and passed (with a score of 80% or above) the CBA Practical Exam – a timed, 4-hour, hands-on exam designed to confirm knowledge of the QBN curriculum.

Professionals who earn the CBA designation have chosen to grow their businesses through networking with other balloon professionals, continuing their education, giving and receiving referrals, and taking advantage of the marketing support available to CBAs.

There are currently more than 2,000 Certified Balloon Artist professionals worldwide.

12. Where were balloons invented?
Balloons—in one form or another—have been around for centuries. But the modern latex balloon—the kind you can blow up yourself—was invented in New England during the Great Depression.

A chemical engineer, frustrated in his attempts to make inner tubes from this new product—liquid latex—scrawled a cat’s head on a piece of cardboard and dipped it in the latex. When it dried, Neil Tillotson had a “cat balloon,” complete with ears. He made about 2,000 balloons and sold them on the street during Boston’s annual Patriot Day parade.

In the late 1970s, silver metalized balloons were developed for the New York City Ballet. These balloons are commonly called Mylar, but they are actually made from a metalized nylon and are more expensive than latex balloons.

13. What happens to balloons that fly away?
Often latex balloons are released either on purpose or accidentally. Research shows that most of these latex balloons—the ones that are well-tied and have no structural flaws—rise to an altitude of about five miles, where they freeze, breaking into spaghetti-like pieces that scatter as they return to earth. While we do know that animals occasionally eat these soft slivers of rubber, the evidence indicates that pieces ultimately pass through the digestive system without harming the animal.

14. Do Balloons Create Litter?

Mass balloon releases come under fire from misinformed critics who inaccurately claim releases generate a major source of litter and threaten the ecology. While anecdotal, subjective “evidence” is usually cited to support these assertions, corroborating factual data is rarely presented.

Important facts you should know about latex balloon releases:

  1. Only latex balloons are used by professionals in mass releases. Industry guidelines require these balloons to be self-tied and have no attached strings or ribbons — each released balloon is 100 percent biodegradable.
  2. Rarely do released balloons return to the earth’s surface intact. Studies show these balloons usually rise to an altitude of about five miles. At that point, freezing and air pressure causes “brittle fracture” creating spaghetti-like pieces that scatter to the four winds.
  3. While some balloons don’t reach this altitude, research indicates that in an average 500-balloon release, the unexploded balloon return density is no greater than one per 15 square miles.
  4. Research shows that regardless of the latex balloon’s ultimate form when it lands, it will decompose, forming a natural soil nutrient at the same rate as that of an oak leaf.

Resources
Latex Allergies
Avoiding Choking Accidents
Balloon Litter
Balloon Releases
Where Do Balloons Go When They Fall On The Ground
Learning About Permiability
Measuring How Fast Helium Filled Balloons Rise
Which Way Is The Wind Blowing

Some of the answers above were provided from The Balloon Council. Please visit this site for more information: http://www.balloonhq.com

Fun Balloon Facts

  • If the sound of a balloon popping startles you, you’re not alone. A bursting balloon actually creates a small sonic boom! Once a hole is made in an inflated balloon, the quick release of the balloon’s energy, or air, causes the hole to grow at almost the speed of sound in rubber. Since this speed is much higher than the speed of sound in air, the hole in the balloon actually breaks the sound barrier, creating a sonic boom.
  • Balloons were invented in 1824, the same year as the electromagnet.
  • Pioneer manufactures nearly one billion Qualatex latex balloons per year.
  • Helium-filled balloons float because helium is lighter than nitrogen and oxygen, the two components of air.
  • For more than 80 years, Qualatex balloons have celebrated big events worldwide — from American political conventions to Korean television specials.

Much Much Much More Information About Balloons