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Topic: Is Helium Safe to Inhale?
Message: Posted by: indysmagic (Apr 24, 2006 09:51PM)
Ok, I didn't know where to post this. I know this is no sideshow stunt. This may be a silly question but here goes:

As a kid, inhaling helium made your voice sound like a chipmonk. Is this safe? What is going on? Now that I have kids, I don't want to let them do something stupid just because I got by with it.
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Apr 24, 2006 10:06PM)
Nah, but go for it anyway. If there is an alergy there is a problem.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Apr 24, 2006 10:07PM)
Helium is one of the inert gases so shouldn't have much in the way of reactions.

Commercial divers often breath an oxygen, helium mix for this reason and for extended periods of time when working at depths where the pressure makes the nitrogen in a "normal air" mix toxic.

However, the "balloon" products are not necessarily pure. Contaminants could and probably would include oils, other gases and who knows what else? These might not be so good.

Otherwise, it's also not oxygen so one could suffocate if you only breathed it without any Ox.

But, I still do it.

"We represent the lollipop, guild the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild.... and we welcome you to munchkin land."

Message: Posted by: jeremysweiss (Apr 24, 2006 10:13PM)
So, let me get this straight: You have come to a forum where people eat fire, walk on broken glass and stick nails in their noses to ask, "....is it safe?"
Message: Posted by: indysmagic (Apr 25, 2006 12:02AM)
Great One Jeremyweiss! You've got a point.
Thanks for the info guys.
As a former closet blockhead, I guess I shouldn't worry.
Message: Posted by: jeremysweiss (Apr 25, 2006 12:20AM)
Unfortunately the point is on my head.
Don't inhale helium for more than two consecutive minutes. Breathe some room air. Best of luck sounding silly.
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Apr 25, 2006 01:06AM)
What ever you do NEVER put peanut butter on the nozzle before inhaling.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Marvello (Apr 25, 2006 06:13AM)
Also never juggle flaming cats while using helium... actually - never juggle flaming cats. Helium is fine :)
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 25, 2006 09:18AM)
Joking aside guys...Helium is NOT safe...and can be FATAL. Air passages have been known to SHUT tight and breathing impared or worse. recommending to 'Go ahead, do it' might not be the best advise...


Product is a non-toxic simple asphyxiant. Effects of oxygen deficiency resulting from simple asphyxiants mayinclude: rapid breathing, diminished mental alertness, impaired muscular coordination, faulty judgement,depression of all sensations, emotional instability, and fatigue. As asphyxiation progresses, nausea, vomiting,prostration, and loss of consciousness may result, eventually leading to convulsions, coma, and death.

This is from an Australian Gas site:

Have you ever been to a party and inhaled helium in an attempt to sound like Donald Duck? If so, you have probably put your life at risk!

Evidence has proven that the inhalation of helium can be fatal, yet thousands of party goers continue to inhale helium thinking it to be incredibly funny rather than life threatening. The inhalation of helium cuts off a person's supply of oxygen and can cause dizziness, unconsciousness and ultimately death!

Doctors around Australia are concerned about the health risk associated with people inhaling helium. This is a particular problem when people are inebriated and their system is already contending with an outside influence.

According to Consultant Occupational Health Physician, Dr Greg McGroder, "Australians have not yet realised the extreme danger associated with helium inhalation. If the concentration of oxygen is decreased below 18% within the human body, symptoms and signs of Asphyxia can occur. Helium gas can totally displace the available oxygen and if this is maintained for even a few seconds, asphyxia and death can and will occur".

In 1898, fifteen year old Michelle Moreno from Texas died from helium inhalation at a friend's party. Her death caused major headlines regarding the dangers of helium inhalation. In Australia, Kristi Brash from Victoria had a near death experience when she appeared to freeze and turn blue after inhaling the entire contents of a balloon. Kristi fell motionless to the floor but luckily regained consciousness after a few minutes. Kristi was rushed to hospital and after examination she appeared to be find although any long term affects of the inhalation are yet to be determined.

Comedy television and radio programmes often use helium as a device to get laughs. This portrays helium inhalation as a fun, safe practice when, in effect, it is deadly. Public figures are influential in the minds of the public and they need to realise that they could either die from helium use or be indirectly responsible for the death of another.

BOC Gases is deeply concerned about the misuse of Balloon Gas and is going to great efforts to inform the public that helium inhalation can be fatal. Unfortunately with people continuing to ignore the dangers of this potentially lethal practice, it is a difficult task to educate the public that HELIUM INHALATION IS NO LAUGHING MATTER!

From another American site:

The gas itself if used improperly can also take human life. We’ve all seen someone or have ingested helium into our lungs which produces that funny squeaky voice.
This is caused by minute amounts of oxygen being depleted from you’re your lungs which then changes the sound of our voice.

Inhalation is NEVER advisable even in small doses

The danger is inhaling too much helium; enough gas inhaled into the body will deplete the oxygen and the person will die of suffocation.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Apr 25, 2006 09:42AM)
At last a very sensible post from Doug.
Now one from me,,,as you know this gas makes things rise!!!!
Haveing tried out the above ideas earlier today (Around 6am) I have just been rescued from the top of a very high tree by the London Fire Brigade.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 25, 2006 11:03AM)
Thinking Helium is akin to a litle Blue Pill can lead to hair loss...oops...

and why the hell aren't you busy writing me an eMail???
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Apr 25, 2006 11:47AM)
Yeah, people use helium to kill themselves when they don't want to make a mess.

Message: Posted by: jeremysweiss (Apr 25, 2006 05:16PM)
Doug's right.
Helium can kill. The high-pitched , squeaking voice can kill dogs. As I said before: don't put your life in your hands because of info you saw on some forum.
Message: Posted by: moosemanty (Apr 27, 2006 08:41PM)
I love helium. at my brothers wedding I inhaled about 150 balloons worth of helium and I never got sick at all. I guess it must vary person to person.

although the kid next to me in the wedding did pass out and hit the hard wood floor right as my brother was getting all teary eyed it was kind of funny "blah blah blah(snivle snivle) blah (big snivle) bla...BOOM "he hit the floor. paramedic said it was just heat because it was summer and he was wearing a tuxedo.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 27, 2006 09:02PM)
That's nice Moose...I'm sure you know best...must have been the heat unless he was also inhaling a labled Asphyxiant and the EMT didn't know that.

No biggie...the big ass Comet is due soon anyway.
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Apr 27, 2006 10:29PM)
I just heard about the big ass comet today. I had no idea. I also heard you can find pictures of naked people on the internet. Who knew?

I played with helium balloons before but I did not inhale.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Apr 28, 2006 04:37AM)
On 2006-04-24 23:13, jeremysweiss wrote:
So, let me get this straight: You have come to a forum where people eat fire, walk on broken glass and stick nails in their noses to ask, "....is it safe?"

"Yes it's safe. It's as safe as can be."

"Is it safe?"
On 2006-04-25 07:13, Marvello wrote:
Also never juggle flaming cats while using helium... actually - never juggle flaming cats. Helium is fine :)

"Honey? Wash the gasoline off the cats. Marvello just told me I shouldn't do it!"

"No it isn't safe, it's very dangerous."
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Apr 28, 2006 05:15AM)
If the cats are inflated with helium, aren't they easier to juggle?
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Apr 28, 2006 05:28AM)
Cats full of helium... reminds me of an eddie izzard sketch about a taxidurmist filling animals with weird stuff. cats full of helium was one of them.

sorry, in a world of my own this morning.

Message: Posted by: DavidEscapes (Apr 28, 2006 10:13AM)
I only ever tried helium once, and I didn't die. So it MUST be safe...

Never ever use gasolene for burning cat juggling, I tried it once, it gave me an awful rash. Better to soak them in lighter fluid overnight.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 28, 2006 11:30AM)
You are all doomed! Doomed I say!

By the way...somebody buy something...the rent is due.
Message: Posted by: Trinket (Apr 28, 2006 07:57PM)
Cats... soaked in lighter fluid and set on fire.... just like mom used to make... siffle...
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 28, 2006 08:02PM)
The last cat I worked with weighed about 500 lbs...I don't think he would have stood for that...but he would most likely spit you out an hour later.
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Apr 29, 2006 12:51AM)
I went to Lisa' website and thought I had died and went to heaven but then I realized I had not been inhaling balloons and I came right back to life. Trinket is cool!!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 29, 2006 11:50AM)
Ted...I went there too...we are decidedly not worthy...and a juggling contortionist too...

Trinket...welcome to the fold...beware of everybody you meet in this Topic....scoundrels each and every one.
Message: Posted by: Trinket (May 3, 2006 05:56PM)
I get on so rarely... Thank you for the compliments. Don't worry, Inner Circle, I'm just as much a scoundrel as the rest of these folks, just ask swami yo ;) The website is at a standstill thanks to computer issues, but hopefully I will have more up in the next few months, maybe even some video. Glad to stop in and smell the coffee.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (May 3, 2006 07:10PM)
I'm sorry to have to raise this, but isn't helium a thing to take lightly?

OK. I'm not really sorry.
Message: Posted by: Xargos (May 8, 2006 04:16AM)
:) :D
Message: Posted by: Comet (May 12, 2006 06:42PM)
No biggie...the big ass Comet is due soon anyway.

Hey I've been loosing weight!! heheh.
Joe Comet
Message: Posted by: airship (May 12, 2006 10:47PM)
You can juggle all the flaming cats you want around helium. It's HYRDOGEN that's flammable, not helium. Enough helium will actually put out a fire. Of course, the cats won't enjoy it, either way.
Message: Posted by: Marvello (Jun 4, 2006 01:11PM)
[quote][b] 2 found dead inside deflated balloon[/b]

LUTZ, Florida (AP) -- Two college students were found dead inside a large, deflated helium balloon after apparently pulling it down and crawling inside it, officials said.

The deaths of Jason Ackerman and Sara Rydman, both 21, appear to be accidental, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Maj. Bob Schrader said.

Their bodies were found Saturday partially inside a deflated helium balloon at the entrance of a condominium complex a few miles north of Tampa.

The 8-foot-diameter balloon was used to advertise the complex.

"It was more a fun thing they thought they were doing," said Linda Rydman, whose daughter was found dead. "You know how you blow up the balloon and suck the helium."

The county medical examiner said Sunday that the cause of death won't be released for six weeks, until toxicology results come back.

[u]Inhaling helium can quickly lead to brain damage and death from lack of oxygen, according to the Compressed Gas Association, which develops safety standards in the gas industry.[/b]

Ackerman was an advertising major at the University of South Florida and Rydman was a student at Hillsborough Community College.[/quote]