Balloon Twisting Info
Are latex balloons biodegradable?
Latex is a 100-percent natural substance that breaks down both in sunlight and water. The degradation process begins almost immediately. Oxidation, the “frosting” that makes latex balloons look as if they are losing their color, is one of the first signs of the process. Exposure to sunlight quickens the process, but natural microorganisms attack natural rubber even in the dark.
Research shows that under similar environmental conditions, latex balloons will biodegrade at about the same rate as a leaf from an oak tree. The actual total degradation time will vary depending on the precise conditions.
Latex balloons come from rubber trees. Latex is collected by cutting the tree’s bark, then catching the latex in a cup. Latex harvesting doesn’t hurt the tree! Latex balloons are Earth-friendly! Rubber trees grow in rain forests. Latex harvesting discourages deforestation because latex-producing trees are left intact. A tree can produce latex for up to 40 years!
Do Balloon ‘pops’ make you jump?
If the sound of a balloon popping startles you, you’re not alone. A bursting balloon actually creates a small sonic boom! Once a hole is made in an inflated balloon, the quick release of the balloon’s energy, or air, causes the hole to grow at almost the speed of sound in rubber. Since this speed is much higher than the speed of sound in air, the hole in the balloon actually breaks the sound barrier, creating a sonic boom.
When were balloons invented?
Balloons were invented in 1824, the same year as the electromagnet. Balloons—in one form or another—have been around for centuries. But the modern latex balloon—the kind you can blow up yourself—was invented in New England during the Great Depression.
A chemical engineer, frustrated in his attempts to make inner tubes from this new product—liquid latex—scrawled a cat’s head on a piece of cardboard and dipped it in the latex. When it dried, Neil Tillotson had a “cat balloon,” complete with ears. He made about 2,000 balloons and sold them on the street during Boston’s annual Patriot Day parade.
In the late 1970s, silver metalized balloons were developed for the New York City Ballet. These balloons are commonly called Mylar, but they are actually made from a metalized nylon and are more expensive than latex balloons.
What happens to balloons that fly away?
Often latex balloons are released either on purpose or accidentally. Research shows that most of these latex balloons—the ones that are well-tied and have no structural flaws—rise to an altitude of about five miles, where they freeze, breaking into spaghetti-like pieces that scatter as they return to earth. While we do know that animals occasionally eat these soft slivers of rubber, the evidence indicates that pieces ultimately pass through the digestive system without harming the animal.
Are there choking hazards with small children?
It is important that consumers be aware of suffocation hazards to children under eight years old who may choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
Balloon Twisters recommend:
All domestically manufactured balloons carry a warning label with this information.
Adult supervision is required.
Keep uninflated balloons from children and pets.
Discard broken balloons at once.
** Important Balloon Information**
Balloons are a choking hazard for all ages. Nancy Kartoon has the right to refuse making a balloon for children under the age of three, or she feels that a child will be put in danger with a balloon.
Who is at risk from latex allergies?
Latex allergies present a moderate to serious health problem for a very small percentage of the population in the United States. Reactions to naturally produced latex (latex is a milky sap produced by rubber trees) may range from minor skin irritation to reactions so severe that immediate emergency medical treatment is required to prevent death.
Incidentally, the most at risk of having an allergic reaction to latex are in the medical arena are doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, and certain patients. These people are exposed to latex gloves and equipment that has latex on it. However, patients need not lose out on the joy and entertainment balloons brought to a hospital room. Since the late 1970s, the balloon industry and its retailers have been providing synthetic, Mylar balloons that offer a wide range of festive colors, unique shapes and messages that make people feel good.
Information provided by Qualatex.com, BalloonHQ.com/The Balloon Council. ©2001 The Balloon Council