Latex Balloon Allergies

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. 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 mylar, plastic, polyurethane and vinyl balloons can be reused 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 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. For a great substitute for 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, spin the bag, 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 http://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. Latex balloon substitutes that are now available are in the following materials: Vinyl, Plastic, Polyurethane and Mylar balloons. Medical suppliers such as Merck, Johnson and Johnson, BD, techdevice.com, sell medically certified non allergenic latex for use in hospitals, labs, operating rooms and research. Ask for rubber bladders and bulbs that are certified to be non allergenic. Synthetic latex is not an allergen, natural latex made from rubber bush is Guayale. Run an internet search on Yulex, techdevice or mrballoon 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.

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2 Comments

  1. frankcook
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your cogent thoughts on latex allergy; this is an important and often overlooked issue, and I found your words provocative and insightful.

    The organization I work for, the Pacific Northwest Foundation, is devoted to researching alternative modes of healing for a variety of illnesses, including latex allergy. I wanted to share with you a video presentation of a case study we conducted some years ago about a woman with severe latex allergy who, through a variety of methods, was able to diminish her reactivity. The link to the presentation is http://pnf.org/html/anna_s_case.html.

    I’d like to thank you so much for your contribution to the subject of latex allergy, and hope you will find the case study above helpful in your continued exploration into the subject.

  2. Igor
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for writing this great blog I really enjoyed.


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