Global Helium Shortage Hits Local Party Businesses Hard

Helium is a precious resource used across various industries, from cryogenics and superconductivity to rocket fuel pressurization. It’s also great for party balloons. But in Yakima and around the country, stores that offer party supplies — and there are more than you think — have taken a financial hit due to a global shortage of the extra light and incredibly stable gas. Government rationing has the distribution of helium for entertainment purposes at the bottom of the priority list, and some local businesses say the price of the average tank has increased more than 60 percent since early 2012, when the shortage began.

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