Latex allergies are becoming more of a problem and here are some balloon tips and ideas:
The 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.
Instead of using the plain rubber balloons for decorations, use the mylar (foil type) or 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.
The non latex helium filled balloons are reusable. To deflate a mylar or plastic balloon for recycling, remove any ribbons from the balloon; insert a common drinking straw into the valve until the air starts to come out. Gently squeeze the balloon and let the air out till flat, remove the straw, fold the flat balloon and store till next use. The balloons can be reused a couple of times until the valve fails.
The 4" sized mylars in round, heart and star shape work well as water balloons, fill with a turkey baster and water, hand tie off like a regular balloon. The 4 and 9 sized foil balloons will not float when filled with helium. Use the 18 size or larger mylar and plastic balloons for helium filled floating decorations.
The latex balloons are made of rubber; they will stretch from small to large size when they are blown up. The latex balloon substitutes (latex balloon alternative) will not stretch and are simply flat or filled.
The mylar and plastic balloons will float with sizes 18" and greater and take 0.5 cu ft of helium each to fill. Never let any person inhale the gas.
Wash the 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 started switching to non-latex balloon substitutes for latex sports balls, decorations, science experiments and crafts. Mylar balloons can be washed with warm water and dish soap to remove the coloring. End result will be a plastic clear balloon. Mylar and plastic balloons are not biodegradable and are harmful to the environment. Please do not release the balloons into the air!
Small vinyl balloons (less than 4 to 4.5 feet in size) will not float, however 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.
Here is a recipe for making inexpensive latex water balloons. At your local supermarket, purchase a box of regular sandwich bags, not the zip lock, not the fold lock top, just cheap regular plastic bags. Fill the corner of the bag with a fist full of water, grab the loose end of the bag, spin the filled part of the bag to form a ball, tie off like a regular balloon, cut off the excess plastic. They work great, readily available, cheap and fun.
For those parents who wish a school to consider using non latex balloons, please call your school nurse or principal.
Balloon twisters, a nice non latex balloon for twisting is available at www.uline.com. It's a roll of poly bags, 3, cut off desired length, heat seal or tie off one end, 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, 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