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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Hope this helps , however you cant legislate for idiocy (and the end user ie baloon shop owner/ sales assistant will be aware of the hazzard's and should tell you that its an asphixiant some where allong the line) but once its in your hands , common sense some times seems to go out the window !
I suspect it's very unlikely to be told this information when buying a balloon though.... Everyone at sometime in their life has seen the squeeky voice trick and it wouldn't cross their mind for a second that there's any real danger involved.
 

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I suspect it's very unlikely to be told this information when buying a balloon though.... Everyone at sometime in their life has seen the squeeky voice trick and it wouldn't cross their mind for a second that there's any real danger involved.
That's it Si, they have seen it and its OK... but for a few that Leigh G is looking into it wasn't OK - it was 'lights out' - forever. I have experienced something akin to a 'dimming' of the light from a couple of breaths of a high He/low O2 atmosphere - one lucky boy to get out of there. Now, we never allow anyone into our gas storage space on a dive vessel without checking an O2 monitor first as a leak from a large tube of 4 or 5% would drop you like a stone.

I would like to thank Leigh G for putting the effort in to dig out the info :wink: :thumbs_up:

Berko:)
 

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:frown: (Sigh) I am sorry that my post, which was simply meant to be informative, has offended some people and that they feel I was implying that they were stupid.
I was implying nothing of the sort.
What I WAS saying is that there is a lack of information.

I know about diving gases, what I DIDN'T know about was balloon gas. I was under the (incorrect) impression, along with other people, that balloon gas contained a minimum 16% of O2. I was surprised when someone mentioned that the balloon gas cylinder they were filling from contained 99% helium, which was what prompted me to look for the regulations I believed MUST exist and which to my surprise, apparently DO NOT.

You can buy poison from any DIY shop. It is CLEARLY LABELLED as such.

Should a potentially lethal substance, for example weed killer, be packaged as a childs toy and marketed with no warning, there would be a public outcry??!:angry:

At the moment, there does not appear to be any legislation covering this, hence the rapid growth of Helium as a popular suicide aid. It is painless, fast, readily available and invariably sourced as balloon gas.

I will continue to research this. Any information that comes to light, I will post. The spirit of any forum is information for an individual to use or not or simply ignore as they choose.

If my comments have offended anyone, I unreservedly appologise.
 

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Sub-optimal DIR wannabe
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Well said AB, excellent stuff Leigh. It is the last time I will inhale the He from ALL the balloons at a dinner for a drunken laugh!
 

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I was working in Boston a few years ago and I was told that it is a federal offence to inhale Helium from balloons in Massachusetts
I don't know what the laws are in other States
 

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I was working in Boston a few years ago and I was told that it is a federal offence to inhale Helium from balloons in Massachusetts
I don't know what the laws are in other States
Federal offences are criminal under US Government legislation. If it were illegal in Massachusetts only, surely this would be a state offence.

Sorry for being pedantic :angel:.
 

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well to prove a point I bought a helium ballon for the nipper yesterday, on the back in a box with a load of other guff, OK its rather small print it does say on it DO NOT BREATHE CONTENTS.


my point ias that if you legislate or regulate the balloons then along the process of regulation things will change and the regs that you wanted at the beginning are nothing like you set out to create. the governemnt never cocks things like this up do they, PART P of the building regs didn't start out as what it is now, but too many do gooders interfered and it is now a very restrictive set of regs.
 

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I hope i didn't imply that Leigh G was stupid , or anyone else here that was not my point, i just think that there is enough legislation in our gas industries as there is and i can see a future where some legislation will be forced down to us, for example testing, certifying, recording and logging of all our air fills, this will cause all sorts of new rules etc being shoved down our throats. This is a brilliant discussion as it will raise awareness (all be it to a limited audience ) of the hazzards of gas abuse.
 

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Sub-optimal DIR wannabe
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well to prove a point I bought a helium ballon for the nipper yesterday, on the back in a box with a load of other guff, OK its rather small print it does say on it DO NOT BREATHE CONTENTS.
If I get a chance I will double check the case law, but tiny writing on the back of the box, IF the information isn't made clear to the purchaser, will be unlikely to held to be sufficient warning if, heaven forbid, it ends up in court as a manslughter/culpable homicide case.
 

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Yes, but the general public generally know that glass will cut you, and that if you hit yourself with a hammer, it will hurt.

What they DON'T know is that breathing helium from a kids balloon can kill.
And since it's generally kids that will endulge in this party trick, it might be nice if it didn't kill them, dont you think???!!!

I agree, I don't want to be wrapped up in cotton wool, I didn't advocate banning helium balloons, but adding enough O2 so it doesn't kill you might be a teensy bit sensible.

Would you let your kids, or the next door neighbour's kids drink bleach? Why not?
Because it's poisonous and carries a warning and you therefore know it can be harmful.:angry:
Now, I'm not saying that absence of evidence on Google is evidence of absence of a phenomenon, be it deaths from inhaling Helium, or flying saucers; however, a brief search on Google using the term "death helium balloon" gave the following hits:

Balloon Event Company of Australia

Helium Safety

(both more or less identical)

Tampabay: 2 found dead under deflated balloon

(must have been a huge balloon!! - they were inside it)

Is it dangerous to inhale helium? - By Daniel Engber - Slate Magazine

BASA - Helium dangers

Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kits - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- Warnings and Disposal / Recycling

Apart from the two deaths in Florida, due to getting inside a huge balloon, the rest of it seems to relate to one or two other cases, including one in "1898". The only other stuff related to deaths of seabirds and whales from ingesting mass released He filled balloons (now illehal in parts of Aus).

To be honest, although there's a theoretical danger, if you inhale the contents of a full balloon due to displacement of O2, it looks to me like the main dangers are injury incurred when falling over unconscious and barotrauma caused by dumb bastards putting their mouth around the cylinder valve and cracking it.

I went out and bought a 9Kg cylinder of BBQ gas this weekend, there was no warning on that either, apart from being careful around flames/fires etc.

I think this He danger thing is a bit of a beat up.

I thought this looked good though. And this too.
 

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I started my searches on Google, too, and it IS hard to find any info, apart from thousands of adverts for balloon suppliers, which is why I started asking other sources. It is extremely hard to find cases, partly because the deaths are recorded with coroners under the misuse of solvents, and then reclassified elsewhere because helium isn't a solvent and then further reclassified as possible suicides.

There were six deaths in the UK in 2006, and four or five each for 2005 and 2004. The numbers are higher in the states. How many are suicides, I have no idea, but they were from inhaling the gas, not from barotrauma. (If you look up 'strokes from helium' you get results for that, too.)

Since it is effective as a suicide gas, I don't think you can discount the risks of children breathing it from balloons as being too small a risk. It only takes one to die. Or, more likely, suffer brain damage. I don't think I'd like it to be my child.

This may, as you say be a storm in a teacup, and the risks may be negligable.
Or it may not.
I would like it to be something that people could make an informed decision about. At present, since there are no warnings, limited information available to the public and most people are under the misconception that, not only is it not dangerous, but that it's actually safe, the public cannot do that.

As divers, we are all aware that people die breathing hypoxic gas. Only one example came up when I googled it.

Last year, Oprah :)frown: ) had a guest on warning people about the dangers because their little girl died from inhaling helium from a balloon. I can't find any further information on that either.

The dangers of BBQ gas are fire and explosion. Plenty of people get hurt because of this, but they are warned of the risks. Mass numbers don't generally breathe this gas to sound like Donald Duck, so a warning would be a little spurious, a bit like a warning on a packet of needles that says 'Do not Ingest', although there are a very small number of individuals who will do so.

This is not the case with Helium balloons.
 

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death relating to helium inhalation was removed a few years ago after it appeared in the Final Exit in 1999/2000 (can't remember exactly) as a guaranteed (if done correctly), painless method of killing you self

the book was aimed at people wanting to 'commit' euthanasia, but many suicide victims also tried it and died in years since it's publication, it was banned in the UK

if anyone wants to read it i have a copy around here somewhere

you will find that many sites talking about suicide via other methods have also been removed in recent years
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
you will find that many sites talking about suicide via other methods have also been removed in recent years
I found a site with instructions on how to go about it :-/ Bit strange
 

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the kind of human wreckage that you love
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Bit of an odd story about a Clown dying whilst doing his helium breathing act...

The Giant Napkin|Clown's helium-induced death hilariously high-pitched
Is that article for real ?!

"It’s hard to hold in my laughter even now,” said Jill Brody, parent and witness to Squeaky’s humorous passing. “[Squeaky] kept saying, ‘Help, I really can’t breathe.’ It was just brilliant the way he said it with that high voice. It even looked like real tears were streaming down his cheeks. He was such a committed performer.” :eek:mg:

and

I am afraid every time my child sees a clown he will start bursting into laughter,”

Errrr .........

There were no quotes saying it was tragic or that "Squeaky" will be missed.

Couldn't find anything for the Helium Awareness Society either but it's strange how some places say it's dangerous to inhale from party balloons and others say that's fine. There doesn't seem to be a particularly clear message
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Is that article for real ?!

Errrr .........


Couldn't find anything for the Helium Awareness Society either but it's strange how some places say it's dangerous to inhale from party balloons and others say that's fine. There doesn't seem to be a particularly clear message

I wasn't sure if it was real or not either but I found it on two different sites. The tone of it was a bit odd.


I also found an "urban myth" which took the mickey out of the idea that you could die from Helium inhalation too. Their argument was that you would pass out and drop the balloon and would recover ok.
Kinda missing the point that one....
 
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