Balloons are made of natural latex. Latex is the milky sap of the rubber tree (hevea brasilensis) which grows in tropical areas of the world, such as East India, Brazil, Malaysia, and Guatemala.
Each tree lives for about 35 years and produces enough sap for three 10 inch balloons daily.
The continuing demand for latex balloons insures the survival of the rubber tree and provides economic incentive for planting (instead of cutting down) these trees.
The process of gathering latex sap can be likened to the gathering of maple sap from Canadian maple trees for the production of maple syrup.
The sap is delivered to the manufacturer in its raw liquid form. It is mixed with non toxic colour. Moulds are dipped into salt water which acts as a coagulant. The moulds are then dipped into the latex mixture and heated to form a latex balloon.
The completed balloon is a versatile decorating tool. You may have seen bouquets, arches and giant sculptures made out of them. Balloon releases are always inspirational and fun.
What happens to helium filled balloons when you let them go ?
About 95% will rise to 28,000 feet where the air is thin and very cold. The cold temperature causes the latex to become brittle. The thin air causes the balloons to expand and shatter into tiny pieces.
The remaining 5% of released balloons, that do not rise high enough to shatter, drift with the wind currents for approximately 8 to 14 hours before coming down. They then revert to sap in as little as 4 to 8 weeks, depending upon environmental conditions. A study has shown that a latex balloon will break down as quickly as an oak leaf.
Why do latex balloons decompose at a rapid rate ?
Latex balloons are made from a naturally occurring substance and they have a very large surface area in relation to their mass.
Balloons begin to decompose within one hour of inflation. Perhaps you have noticed a shiny inflated balloon become velvety within a short period of time. This is evidence of the first stage of decomposition.
Do balloons harm animals ?
A healthy animal will not normally choose to eat a latex balloon. Studies have shown that even small animals can easily pass an ingested latex balloon.
What is a safe balloon release ?
Released balloons should be latex and hand knotted with no ribbon, string, fishing line or plastic hardware attached.
Balloon releases are very beautiful and if done properly are environmentally safe. By allowing only environmentally safe releases, concerned people and businesses can ensure that balloons will continue to be part of festive celebrations.
Your worldest largest industry for making hot air ballons comes from the good midwest.... raven industry. Though I am not sure if it is anymore but at one time it was