Did you know balloons are Earth Friendly?
My name is Sean aka The Balloon Guy, I’m a balloon twister and I use only the best products. “Qualatex latex balloons are made from 100% natural latex — not plastic. They are biodegradable, and decompose as fast as an oak leaf in your backyard!”
Latex balloons come from rubber trees. Latex is collected by cutting the tree’s bark, then catching the latex in a cup. Latex harvesting doesn’t hurt the tree!
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 40 years! Learn more at http://www.qualatex.com/pages/facts.php.
Here is more information from The Balloon Council: http://www.balloonhq.com/BalloonCouncil/faq.html#latex
Quoted directly from their website:
When 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.
Where does the latex used in balloons come from?
Latex balloons are produced from the milky sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasilliensis. The rubber tree originated in the tropical forests of South America and was taken to Europe from Brazil. It is now grown on plantations in many tropical countries. The latex is collected in buckets, as it drips from harmless cuts in the bark. The process is much like that used to collect maple syrup. The use of latex balloons and other products, such as surgical gloves, make rubber trees economically valuable, which discourages people from cutting them down.
Are latex balloons biodegradable?
Latex is a 100-percent natural substance that breaks down both in sunlight and water. The degradation process begins almost immediately. Oxidation, the “frosting” that makes latex balloons look as if they are losing their color, is one of the first signs of the process. Exposure to sunlight quickens the process, but natural microorganisms attack natural rubber even in the dark.
Research shows that under similar environmental conditions, latex balloons will biodegrade at about the same rate as a leaf from an oak tree. The actual total degradation time will vary depending on the precise conditions. Click here for more information
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. Click here for more information
Are sea mammals at risk?
Although many stories have been repeated about sea creatures dying from balloons, extensive research by the industry and reporters has yet to verify one such story. In one study of 439 dead sea cows over an 8-year period, Cathy Beck of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service did not find a single balloon inside a single deceased sea cow.
The most frequently cited case is one in which the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ found a balloon in the intestinal track of a dead sea turtle. Bob Schoelkopf, the director of the Center, has said himself that the balloon could not be identified as the cause of death. Click here for more information
What about balloon litter?
Balloons are not a significant littler problem. During a nationwide beach cleanup in 1992, volunteers collected more than 614,433 bottles and cans, but found fewer than 32,000 balloon pieces. These pieces—collected over more than 4,600 miles of shoreline—would fit inside four trash bags.
However, The Balloon Council encourages consumers to dispose of balloons—like all products—properly. We support putting weights on all helium-filled balloons to keep them from floating away accidentally and ask consumers to put deflated balloons in the proper receptacles. Children under age 8 always should be supervised while playing with latex balloons because of the possibility of them choking on them. Click here for more information
Are there choking hazards with small children?
It is important that consumers be aware of suffocation hazards to children under eight years old — who may choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. We recommend:
- Adult supervision is required.
- Keep uninflated balloons from children.
- Discard broken balloons at once.
All domestically manufactured balloons carry a warning label with this information. Click here for more information
Who is at risk from latex allergies?
Latex allergies present a moderate to serious health problem for a very small percentage of the population in the United States. Reactions to naturally produced latex (latex is a milky sap produced by rubber trees) may range from minor skin irritation to reactions so severe that immediate emergency medical treatment is required to prevent death.
Incidentally, those most at risk of having an allergic reaction to latex are in the medical arena —doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, and certain patients. These people are exposed to latex gloves and equipment which has latex on it. However, patients need not lose out on the joy and entertainment balloons bring to a hospital room. Since the late 1970s, the balloon industry and its retailers have been providing synthetic, metallized balloons that offer a wide range of festive colors, unique shapes and messages that make people feel good. Click here for more information
Is there legislation in effect relating to balloons?
Currently the states of Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, & California have laws in effect dealing with balloon releases. Legislation is pending in Massachusetts and New York.
The Balloon Council has helped defeat anti-balloon legislation ranging from severe release limitations to total bans in 12 states and seven communities. Click here for more information
I am a retailer. Where can I turn for tips on public and media relations?
We offer lots of tips on this topic. Click here for more information
How may balloons be used for educational purposes?
Our web site offers experiments on a variety of topics that science teachers can use with their classes. We’re sure that other creative uses exist, and we’d love to hear about them as you find them. Click here for the experiments
Are there any special rules about handling foil balloons?
Foil balloons should never be tied together and each of them in a bouquet should be tied to a weight. They should be disposed of by cutting them open and putting in the trash.
Are there any uses for foil balloons after they lose their helium?
Some consumers find the designs so neat that they frame them and use in children’s or recreational rooms. They also make creative wrappings for small-sized gifts.