Capitol Alert

Having a birthday party? Here’s what you need to know about balloons

Here is what The Balloon Council says about balloon safety

Lorna D. O'Hara, executive director of The Balloon Council, speaks about balloon safety at the Capitol on May 30, 2017. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, is carrying a bill, AB 1091, that prohibits people from willfully releasing balloons into th
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Lorna D. O'Hara, executive director of The Balloon Council, speaks about balloon safety at the Capitol on May 30, 2017. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, is carrying a bill, AB 1091, that prohibits people from willfully releasing balloons into th

Balloons take outdoor events to the next level with inflated joy. But don’t let that metallic balloon go or you could face a $100 fine.

The Balloon Council held an outdoor education event at the state Capitol Tuesday to teach the public how to handle balloons responsibly. The national organization of balloon retailers and manufacturers distributed balloon weights, stickers and pamphlets for three hours to hundreds of children and parents.

Faraday, the council’s balloon-shaped mascot – named after balloon inventor Michael Faraday – greeted visitors and shared five balloon safety practices:

▪ Secure balloons with a weight.

▪ Don’t let balloons fly away into the air. Current law fines people $100 for releasing metallic balloons because they can result in power outages or post a fire hazard when they come in contact with electrical lines. The ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance went into emergency mode for 13 hours in March after a metallic party balloon got caught in the power lines.

▪ Children with balloons should be monitored closely.

▪ Properly discard deflated and popped balloons.

▪ Do not inhale the helium inside the balloon. It could make you lightheaded or even pass out.

The council organized the event in support of Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, who is carrying a bill, AB 1091, that would prohibit release of all balloons except those made of latex – the kind you blow up yourself – starting next year.

Current law only prohibits releasing Mylar balloons with a metallic finish into the air, and the bill would extend the ban to willfully releasing any Mylar balloons outdoors.

“Just don’t release the balloons,” Quirk said. “Balloons often end up where they are not supposed to be, and that can cause serious problems in our communities.”

Walter Ko: 916-321-1436, @juntaeko

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