Originally Posted by pyronaught
If the toy balloon people would just stop using helium then the price would come down because demand would drop way off. They are the ones squandering the valuable gas on a large scale for a frivolous purpose for which hydrogen could easily be substituted. Normally I'm the last person in favor of government intervention on anything, but a ban on using helium for toy balloons might help solve the shortage problem. If demand dropped off too much though then it could backfire and result in the refining companies not even bothering to capture helium.
It's ironic that the 2nd most abundant element in the universe is so dang hard to find!
Be careful what you ask for.We just might get it.Im pretty sure there is a large percentage of the population that sees our blimps as nothing more than big"toy balloons". If you/we want to do something really constructive it would be to get as many or all interests that use helium not only for fun but as more or less a commercial necessity for the continued viability of various business interests.
Medical is a big one.Electronics manufacture.Deep sea diving.Lighter than air ships and other balloons.Plus Im sure there are a few other interests that dont come to mind off the top of my head.Lobby the gas producers directly as a group or as is probably necessary lobby legislative forces to pressure the natural gas industry to get more aggressive with recovery equip at all natural gas facilities.The logic was that this is what would happen before demand outstripped supply by being driven purely by market forces without any kind of forced intervention.This clearly hasnt happened.
Blaming the problem on "toy balloons" IMO is a shortsighted answer to a complex situation.
P.S. Are you really sure it would be a good idea to have a bunch of little kids running around with balloons full of hydrogen? IIRC one of the funnest things to do with party balloons when I was a kid was to rub it in your hair and see how much static you could produce.They seemed to pop fairly regularly.Near your head with a bunch of static present.I can see it now.