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Latex allergies are a serious problem for many people. Latex balloon allergies are caused by the powder in and outside of latex balloons.This powder picks up the latex molecules and then spreads it around a room where it may be inhaled and possibly cause an individual who has a latex allergy to have a severe reaction. Here are some tips and suggestions for using latex-free balloons. Instead of using the plain rubber balloons for decorations, use mylar (foil type), plastic balloons or vinyl balls for table centerpiece, stage and room decorations.Mylar and plastic balloons are made without latex, last weeks longer than regular rubber balloons and can be reused until the self-sealing valve fails. Latex-free helium filled balloons are reusable.
To deflate a mylar or plastic balloon for recycling and reuse:
1. Remove any ribbons from the balloon
2. Insert an ordinary drinking straw into the valve until the air starts to come out
3. Gently squeeze the balloon, letting the air out until the balloon is flat
4. Remove the straw
5. Fold the flat balloon and store till next use.
Remember, these balloons can be reused until the valve fails. The 4" mylars that are round-, heart- or star-shaped work well as water balloons. Use a turkey baster to fill the balloon with water, then tie a knot by handd in the valve end to seal in the water. 4” and 9” foil balloons will not float when filled with helium. You must use 18” or larger mylar and plastic balloons for helium-filled floating decorations. Here is a recipe for making inexpensive non-latex water balloons or stress balls.At your local supermarket, purchase a box of regular flat sandwich bags--not the zip lock and not the fold lock top, just cheap regular plastic bags.Fill the corner of the bag with water until it's about the size of your fist, then grab the loose end of the bag and spin until the bag forms a ball, tie a knot close to the ball like a regular balloon, and cut off the excess plastic.They work great. They are readily available. Plus they are cheap and fun. The 20" and 24" size latex-free balloons will stretch and are a great alternative to latex balloons. They can be filled with air for experiments and activities and if they are filled with helium, they will also float.
Mylar (foil) and plastic balloons will float at sizes 18" and greater. Each 18" mylar takes 0.5 cu ft of helium each to fill.
Never let any person inhale the helium as it can cause asphyxiation or suffocation.
If you wash mylar balloons with warm soap and water and they become clear! Mylar balloons will conduct electricity.Plastic balloons in 18” size, round and heart shapes will not conduct electricity.Please use non conductive curling ribbon and never a metallic ribbon on any balloon.Some schools and hospitals have switched to non-latex balloon substitutes for latex sports balls, decorations, science experiments and crafts.
Mylar and plastic balloons are not biodegradable and may be harmful to the environment.Please do not release mylar or plastic balloons into the air! Small vinyl balloons (less than 4 to 4.5 inches in size) will not float.
There are large polyurethane inflatable balloons in different shapes that can be used for outdoor events and do not contain latex.The most common shapes in jumbo inflatable’s are hot air, blimp and round shapes.Custom shapes can be made of just about anything.They are refillable, come with a patch kit, last outdoors for about a year and can be custom imprinted. Vinyl spherical shaped balloons are an excellent mold for paper Mache' and plaster projects or even balloon toss.They are just like beach ball material.Sizes range from 5" to 96". Vinyl balloons will not float at all.
Parents who wish to have their children's school consider latex-free balloons, please call your school nurse or principal.
BALLOON TWISTERS: A nice latex free balloon for twisting is available at www.uline.com. Basically, it’s a roll of 3" poly bags. Cut off desired length, heat seal or tie off on one end and fill with air. Then heat seal or tie off the other end.While not perfect, they do work pretty good. There are new laws being introduced and implemented into the legal system all the time on a state by state basis regarding balloons. Schools, the work place, hospitals, etc. have recently changed their policies regarding latex balloons. The Balloon Council in Washington DC has an excellent website that lists all new and pending laws regarding balloons by state. Also the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and the American Latex Allergy Association both offer a wide realm of information and help on this subject. Run an internet search using the keyword: Non Latex Balloons.Even the FAA and local cities have new laws regarding balloons. The author, J. L. Dorsey is a certified master of balloons with over 25 years experience.Clients range from aerospace, government, military, corporate, motion picture, TV, concert, laboratories, universities and schools.
This material is for information purposes only. The writer and publisher assume no legal responsibility for any use or misuse of the information