Technically no, helium is a greenhouse gas effect, but it is inert and the helium itself does not harm our ozone. Although it doesnt leave a significant impact, it still isn’t good to be releasing all that helium in the environment. Some people argue that it is harmful to our environment because once escaped balloons return to the earth, animals often mistake the rubber as food and die. Keep in mind, being only a theory, there are both sides to the environment.
So oddly enough, it isn’t the gas that is potentially harmful, but the rubber itself.
Note also that helium is a non-renewable commodity – it comes from underground gas pools – so any that does escape to the atmosphere is gone forever; some estimates say we will run out within 20-30 years. Less than 10% of the helium used makes its way into things like balloons. Far more important uses include liquid helium to cool medical MRI devices.
Hi rigibson, I am wondering what we will do when we run out of helium to take out of the ground? Is there a synthetic alternative that can be used for MRIs and other applications? (And, of course, for balloons). I just asked a question about this here: http://greenanswers.com/q/195036/nature-ecosystems/drilling-mining/what-will-happen-when-we-run-out-helium-mine
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