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Helium shortage becoming problem for retailers

Supply and demand is a concept that runs the world. When it comes to helium, lately the demand has started to surpass the supply, and prices are reflecting that. For the time being, helium is still able to fulfill customer requests, be they for balloons at party shops or medical care-associated needs from hospitals. 

A Connecticut-based news channel noted that Party City is also feeling the challenges of what it calls the ‘helium hiccup.’

“Just watch the consumption if it’s frivolous versus necessary,” Jon Pollac of Aero All Gas told Eyewitness News 3. “And I don’t mean don’t get a balloon with the flower arrangement you’re getting; just don’t get twelve.”

The article shared that the shortage is expected to last through 2019.

A Pennsylvania news station shared that its citizens are feeling the effects as well. Only a handful of companies are able to process helium as it is extracted from the ground and separated to become what we use in balloons.

"There have been times where we have ordered six tanks and we've only gotten two, and the two tanks that I did get were actually the hospital grade helium," said Dom Bartoli who runs Balloon Works in Exeter, Pennsylvania. "There are several grades, so I had to pay a little bit more for them."

Nitrogen can be used as a substitute for helium in some cases, though it doesn’t float quite as well.

Party and Halloween Retailer will keep readers updated on the helium shortage.

Originally posted Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018