Skip to comments.California Targets New Menace: Helium-Filled Foil Balloons
Posted on 07/15/2008 1:50:31 PM PDT by MissouriConservative
California state Sen. Jack Scott says he didn't intend to "be a party pooper." It's just that helium-filled foil balloons -- like those found at hospital gift shops and office parties -- are dangerous. They float into electric lines and cause power outages, more than 800 in California last year, utilities say.
He drafted a bill to ban foil balloons; it sailed through the state Senate and now awaits a vote in the Assembly.
The pro-balloon people are hoping that even if the bill does pass, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto it. At a recent news conference, the governor commented that he couldn't get the legislature to work on the now-overdue state budget. A member of the audience joked that they'd been too busy outlawing balloons.
"Oh yes, a very important law," mocked Gov. Schwarzenegger. "Let's outlaw the balloons. Let's punish the people again."
Mr. Scott, however, insists balloons pose a real danger and must be stopped no matter how unpopular the move may be. "It's not my intention to ruin birthday parties, but children will inevitably let these balloons go up into the air and that's a threat.
In California, the balloon industry has come under regulatory scrutiny before. In 1990, it became the only state to pass a law requiring that helium-filled foil balloons be sold with a weight affixed to them, such as a bag of chocolates or a coffee mug. Under Mr. Scott's bill, someone selling a helium-filled foil balloon on a string could be fined $100.
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All I can say is...what have we become?
How about a ban on helium-filled politicians?
If this is true about the ballons causing power outages, I do not see the problem with this bill? In fact I would support it.
Silly me thought California had a budget crisis...but I guess the most that they have to worry about is helium filled foil balloons...the scurge of mankind from they say.
How I wish the problems were this lame.
It sure sounds like micro-management of society when they get into issues like balloons.
They float into electric lines and cause power outages, more than 800 in California last year, utilities say
I’d really have to see the data on that one. With the amount of open air vs. the amount of space an electric line takes up in it, I can’t see this being even remotely possible.
I’m seriously afraid to ask the question...”What’s next?”
I'll wait for the Mythbusters episode before I accept that.
My wife had some from a party but she has tossed them. I wanted to check their conductibility myself.
Balloons and changing weather - man, those liberals are deep thinkers!
they’re filled with methane
Sorry, but my BS meter pegged on that one.
EVEN IF the foil is conductive
It cannot span any two lines, except maybe on top of a pole transformer.
It's filled with helium
So it's not likely to land on TOP of a transformer, where most terminals are.
EVEN IF the string is conductive
If it spans two HV lines, it cannot conduct current for more than a few milliseconds before it vaporizes, not likely to trip a breaker anywhere.
Somebody's blowing smoke here.
When helium balloons are outlawed, only outlaws will have helium balloons (or methane, whatever)
I do not believe these mylar balloons can short out a power line. They are not big enough. One day we had a dust devil that had picked up some trash in the neighborhood, including an aluminum roofing panel two feet wide and eight feet long. The wind dropped the aluminum panel neatly across both wires of the powerline, and that was most highly amusing.
Me too. How many vehicles run into those same poles?
“Me too. How many vehicles run into those same poles?”
In my neighborhood we get at least one squirrel blackout a year...fries the little devils crispy.
So I guess we’re gonna ban squirrels now?
There were 800 power outages caused by these balloons. How many small businesses suffered lost time or lost computer data? How many hospitals had to go on emergency generators, perhaps risking patients’ safety? How many extra police man-hours did cities have to pay for to provide intersection control and increased patrols? If we’ve learned anything in the last few months, it’s how vital energy is to our economy. If balloons are actually causing this many outages, ban ‘em. Besides, balloons are about as stupid a gift as there is. Takes no thought whatsoever to grab a balloon at the grocery store. A meaningless gesture that is apparently hurting the economy.
There aluminum coated mylar. The aluminum is on the inside. They wouldn’t conduct on the outside. Since the coating is only a couple of molecules thick, the aluminum would immediately burn off if subjected to any current.
When foil helium balloons are outlawed...
In my neighborhood we say that whenever a squirrel farts the power goes out.
I finally got fed up with it and now have an 18,000 watt generator that runs the whole place, hot tub and all. We call him Sparky.