LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas retailers say they’ll have plenty of helium on hand to blow up those heart-shaped Valentine’s Day balloons despite tight supplies across the country.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that retailers have been stockpiling helium for months to meet Tuesday’s expected demand.
Marty Fish, head of the Wichita-based International Balloon Association, says that stores around the country have been coping with the helium squeeze.
The nation’s helium supply has been reduced in recent years because the gas is used in industries that take priority over retailing. Helium is used in hospitals to cool MRI machines and for other medical research, for instance.
Fish says a tank of helium that cost $35 in the 1990s may go for more than $70 today, depending on location.