- Balloons are harmful to both the environment and people.
- You can help by raising awareness and helping inspire policy changes.
- We have resources available for teachers and journalists.
Threats to Wildlife
Balloons have been discovered during necropsies (autopsies) for a variety of animal species and can also cause choking and entanglement, resulting in death. Affected animals include sea turtles, sea birds, birds of prey, whales, bighorn sheep, horses, lambs, seals, and platypuses.
Balloon manufactures are usually very quick to claim that balloons are biodegradable and environmentally friendly however this is unfortunately not the case. Their claims come from a study that that was commissioned (i.e. paid for) by the American balloon industry in the 1980s. The study was not conducted scientifically and their findings were never published in a scientific journal. The study’s claims that latex balloons are biodegradable have been disproven on multiple occasions within scientific literature. What we do know is that in fresh or salt water, balloons will remain intact and stretchy for up to a year or more and are are specifically targeted by endangered sea turtles, sea birds, and other species.
According to the US Consumer Protection Agency, “of all children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death”.
Product Safety Australia has also issued warnings against balloons and a clearly labeled choking hazard label is present on all balloon packets. Despite their popularity, balloons are clearly not safe for children.
Helium inhalation can kill
Helium inhalation also has the potential to result in death. It is such an effective killer than it has actually become a popular method of suicide.
Even the helium industry warns consumers about the dangers of their product.
Helium is also a finite resource created through the extraction of natural gas, a fossil fuel. Scientists have warned that at the current rate of use, we may run out of helium as soon as thirty years from now.
Helium is used in a variety of life saving medical devices and also deep sea diving equipment. It is not something we want to be wasting.
How you can help
Don’t buy balloons
By far, the greatest thing you can do to put an end to the balloon madness is to simply never purchase a balloon and help spread the word about the dangers of balloon release ceremonies.
Share on social media
Feel free to save this photo to your computer or phone and share it on your social media channels or share it directly from our Facebook page.
Sign the petition
We also would like to encourage you to sign this online petition through change.org to ban the release of balloons in Australia and ban the use of helium to inflate balloons in Australia. The petition’s organisers will keep the petition up until they receive a response from the Australian government.
Like “Balloons Blow” on Facebook
We would also encourage to “like” the Facebook page, Balloons Blow.
Balloons Blow posts ‘calls to action’ and ‘mass littering alerts’ prior to major balloon releases and offers suggestions on who to contact to help avert the release.
Follow “the Boomerang Alliance”
We would also encourage all Australians to follow the work of the Boomerang Alliance.
Contact your elected official
As with all environmental and social issues, it is important to make your elected officials aware of your concerns. We strongly encourage community groups, environmental organisations, and individuals to hold letter writing sessions in support of balloon bans – particularly if you become aware of a planed mass release of balloons.