Despite popular belief, helium is used for more than inhaling to make that temporary squeaky voice. Places where you’d normally get a bouquet of balloons are taking a hit because of a nationwide helium shortage.
Where does helium come from?
While helium makes balloons float into the air, the gas is taken from out of the ground. Don’t worry, you’re not constantly walking over helium. It can only be extracted from select places. So, when the supply is low in those few spots and the demand is high, a shortage can follow.
On Party City’s website, there’s a disclaimer about the helium shortage and how it could affect supplies and orders. A Dollar Tree in York isn’t limiting the number of balloons you can get with the few tanks that they have. But they aren’t taking any future orders since there’s no telling when the shortage will let up. Even welding companies such as the Airgas store in central Pennsylvania is currently pausing their intake of helium customers. Helium is also used in the medical field and some aspects of engineering, so the shortage is affecting more than just local businesses.
Other balloon options
If you still have your heart set on balloons, air-filled balloons, twisted balloons, and balloon garlands do not need helium, according to Party City’s website.