Pioneer Balloon Company - Makers of Qualatex balloons
Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 04:12:56 -0500
From: Alan B Johnson <alanj@modempool.com>
To: DON DIXON <balloons@magna.com.au>,
Subject: Re: Helium safety

I Agree to a point that the helium suppliers have a responsibility and they do usually place a
semi-circular warning label up near the valve of the tank that tells of the dangers of
inhaling their product, however helium has many uses and  they are each of a specialized and
somewhat limited scope.  If the helium suppliers were responsible to educate the masses of the
danger of their product, I would hate to think what that would cost them & us.

I Think the reason that people on the list are reacting the way they are is because the Fed-Ex
truck did not bring the munchkins a TANK of helium, He brought them 3 LATEX BALLOONS filled
with helium and that is why there is a feeling of responsibility among the balloon community
to respond.  I can't say I never have inhaled helium, in fact it was one of the first things I
did when I bought my store walked right up to the tank and got it straight out of the tilt
valve, the man I bought the store from quickly told me that he had fired people for doing that
and warned me of the dangers.

I thought the ad concept was cute, irresponsible, but cute.  However, Fed-Ex is not alone in
this.  Using the Wizard of Oz footage required a license from it's owner, and they approve or
reject anything that has to do with their property.  They should have seen that showing their
characters doing this could cause harm to children who may see this.  I had a local radio
station that wanted me to do a commercial on helium and I refused, and then educated him about
the danger involved.  He had no Idea.

We need to put this into perspective though and realize that we can still do our part by
educating our own customers. When we rent a tank we try to point out the dangers of
transporting tanks and inhaling helium so as to inform them that there is a liability
involved.  The fed ex ad just may help open the line of communication on the subject that
allows us to do so.

Alan B. Johnson
The Balloon Emporium
Jackson  MI  USA

DON DIXON wrote:

> Who is ultimately responsible for conveying health and safety information of a product?
> If a person overdoses on pills, is it the Pharacist's Guild who was responsible for
> conveying safety information to the public? No! It's the manufacturer of the medicine. The
> Drug Company!
>
> Why is the balloon industry intent on carrying out the warnings to the public that should
> be coming from the helium suppliers? Why do we allow them to sit back and do little (if
> anything) about this? The balloon industry is only ONE of the markets where helium is
> sold.
>
> Yes, I agree that we have a resposibility to our customers, to our employees and our peers
> to promote safety with helium. But letters of safety warnings to abusers such as; Fedex,
> TV personalities, newspapers, and the like, should be on the letterhead of Praxair, Air
> Liquide, Air Products, Linde Gases and others.
>