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If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

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If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Old 02-26-12, 11:07 PM
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If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

This article somewhat gives the false impression that the girl died from breathing helium. The reality is that it was the pressure from the tank that killed her, and this could have happened with any kind of gas, even oxygen. Breathing helium from one regular size balloon is not going to hurt you. Helium is inert - it does not react chemically with other elements.


http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/46487997

Teen girl dies after inhaling helium at party

EAGLE POINT, Ore. Last weekend, 14-year-old Ashley Long told her parents she was going to a slumber party. But instead of spending the night watching videos and eating popcorn two blocks away, she piled into a car with a bunch of her friends and rode to a condo in Medford, Ore., where police say the big sister of one of her friends was throwing a party with booze and marijuana.

After drinking on the drive, and downing more drinks in the condo, it came time for Ashley to take her turn on a tank of helium that everyone else was inhaling to make their voices sound funny.

"That helium tank got going around," said Ashley's stepfather, Justin Earp, who learned what happened from talking to Ashley's friends at the party. "It got to my daughter. My daughter didn't want to do it. It was peer pressure. They put a mask up to her face. They said it would be OK. 'It's not gonna hurt you. It'll just make you laugh and talk funny.'"

Instead, she passed out and later died at a hospital, the result of an obstruction in a blood vessel caused by inhaling helium from a pressurized tank.

"It blew her lungs out," Earp said. "It exploded them. It created air pockets in her veins. Then it went up into her brain and blew it up."


It's a common party trick someone sucks in helium to give their voice a cartoon character sound.

But the death exposes the rare but real dangers of inhaling helium, especially from a pressurized tank. The gas is also commonly seen in suicide kits mail-order hoods sold out of Oregon and elsewhere that can be attached to a helium tank by people who want to kill themselves.

Death from inhaling helium is so rare that the American Association Poison Control Centers lumps it in with other gases, such as methane and propane. Only three deaths from simple asphyxiants were recorded in 2010, said spokeswoman Loreeta Canton.

Dr. Mark Morocco, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles, said what happens is similar to when a scuba diver surfaces too quickly. A gas bubble gets into the bloodstream, perhaps through some kind of tear in a blood vessel. If it is a vein, the bubble will stay in the lungs. If it is an artery, it can block the flow of oxygen-laden blood to the brain, causing a stroke. If there is a hole in the heart, the bubble can go from a vein to an artery and then to the brain.

"We tell folks every day that the combination of alcohol and anything else in the party world puts you at a much higher risk factor," Morocco said.

Morocco said the other risk of using helium is apoxia, which can cause wooziness, but it's not lethal.

It's important to remind kids that ingesting any substance for the sake of getting high or just changing their voices can be dangerous, said Frank Pegueros, executive director of DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education.

Pegueros said the first defense is for parents to tell their kids about the dangers of certain substances. He said kids need to also ask themselves whether going along with the crowd at a party is worth it.

"Peer pressure is a very potent force," he said. "We've all gone through it growing up."

"It's getting somebody to pause and think and evaluate the situation and determine, is this something that's going to have a bad consequence," he said.

Police have arrested 27-year-old Katherine McAloon, who lived in the condo, on charges of providing alcohol and marijuana to minors. Four men who were at the party have been questioned by police, but have not been charged, said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau. More charges may be filed after police turn over their evidence to the district attorney.

Ashley was a goofy, nerdy eighth-grader who struggled with her weight, was just starting to notice boys, got top grades in school, had posters of Justin Bieber all over her room and wanted to grow up to be a marine biologist, said her mom, Loriann Earp. The family moved from Grants Pass, Ore., to Eagle Point about a year ago, and Ashley had just gotten over the difficulty of adjusting to eighth grade in a new school.

Justin Earp said the kids had four wine coolers each in the car, and four mixed drinks at the condo, before they started passing around the helium.

Police said it was an 8-gallon canister, the kind you can buy at many stores. The kids were taking hits directly from the tank, not putting the gas into a balloon first.

When Ashley passed out, someone tried CPR. Then they called 911. Paramedics tried to revive her and took her to the hospital.

"About 11:30 we got a phone call from police saying they were doing CPR on our daughter," said Justin Earp.

At the hospital, they were told that Ashley had died.

Her family has set up a foundation, Ashley's Hope, to spread the word about the dangers of inhaling helium.

Loriann Earp feels like her daughter was stolen from her.

"My whole chest is collapsed and my heart is broken," she said through sobs. "I don't understand."
Old 02-26-12, 11:21 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

It's a shame but they should set the foundation up in order to teach kids that other kids will tell you to do stupid shit when they drink. I remember when they have a huge helium tank at my Dad's business. Did I fill up balloons to sound funny? HELL YES. Did I ever think of taking it right right from the tank? Nope....cause that shit came out super fast.
Old 02-26-12, 11:39 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

We had those tanks at my high school. We took it straight from the tank. No one died though.
Old 02-27-12, 12:12 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

A little off topic, but I just learned that a good friends now ex-wife is addicted to huffing from canned air for cleaning keyboards. Apparently there are fluorcarbons or something in there that can give you a high. In the past few months she has passed out twice for huffing canned air while driving, wrecking both cars after passing out. She has passed out at least twice more, including in the bathroom at Walgreens (a drug store). This chick is crazy. Luckily she recently met some other guy, left my friend, and married this other guy.
Old 02-27-12, 12:16 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by Lt Ripley View Post
We had those tanks at my high school. We took it straight from the tank. No one died though.
Or did they? This could be the afterlife and you just don't realize it yet.
Old 02-27-12, 12:18 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
This article somewhat gives the false impression that the girl died from breathing helium. The reality is that it was the pressure from the tank that killed her, and this could have happened with any kind of gas, even oxygen.
It mentions the danger from breathing from a tank more than once in the article.

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Breathing helium from one regular size balloon is not going to hurt you. Helium is inert - it does not react chemically with other elements.
Reacting chemically with other elements has nothing to do with the danger of helium (or any some other gas). It displaces oxygen, no matter how it's ingested. Do it enough from several balloons and you're in trouble.
Old 02-27-12, 12:22 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by MoviePage View Post
Or did they? This could be the afterlife and you just don't realize it yet.
If this is the afterlife, I am here to tell ya'll that most of your after life will be spent listening to people whining and complaining.
Old 02-27-12, 12:31 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
It mentions the danger from breathing from a tank more than once in the article.

Reacting chemically with other elements has nothing to do with the danger of helium (or any some other gas). It displaces oxygen, no matter how it's ingested. Do it enough from several balloons and you're in trouble.

The title of the article implies that it was the helium, and not the pressure.

If you breathe helium from multiple balloons, you'd still be breathing air in between the balloons.
Old 02-27-12, 12:45 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by Heat View Post
A little off topic, but I just learned that a good friends now ex-wife is addicted to huffing from canned air for cleaning keyboards. Apparently there are fluorcarbons or something in there that can give you a high. In the past few months she has passed out twice for huffing canned air while driving, wrecking both cars after passing out. She has passed out at least twice more, including in the bathroom at Walgreens (a drug store). This chick is crazy. Luckily she recently met some other guy, left my friend, and married this other guy.
You might be on to something.
Old 02-27-12, 01:12 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Old 02-27-12, 02:38 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Why the hell was this article written so fucking long. All we needed was a few sentences, not some goddamn James Clavell version of a stupid-ass. Jesus Christ, was the article's author low on his quota of words for the week.
Old 02-27-12, 04:10 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

I sucked in helium (from a tank) at a video store I worked out. It was funny, and then I just remember falling to the ground and knocking my head on the floor. I was fine within 2 seconds (other that feeling like I was punched in the head). But can't say that I want to do it again.
Old 02-27-12, 08:22 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

I like it how the author felt the need to interview someone from DARE about the dangers of inhaling (not ingesting) helium. Of course, he got the standard "Your children are in peril!" response.

Now that one person has died from bottled helium, I suppose that it's time to ban it.
Old 02-27-12, 10:20 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

"When I was born, Grover Cleveland was President."
Old 02-27-12, 10:33 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Now we know who to call "helium breath".
Old 02-27-12, 09:06 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Don't kids do nitrous anymore?
Old 02-27-12, 10:28 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Why? Why has the written word become a thing of the past?
Old 02-28-12, 12:32 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
"When I was born, Grover Cleveland was President."
I thought of that same thing!
Old 02-28-12, 12:36 AM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

"Peer pressure is a very potent force," he said.
Not as potent as helium from a tank, apparently.
Old 02-28-12, 02:00 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

My wife used to do a lot of work with balloons. She got REALLY mad whenever the kids would start breathing the helium out of the balloon, and it isn't a matter of being poisoned, it's a matter of not getting enough oxygen. When you breath air, it goes into your lungs and disperses into the rest of your body. As someone said before, if you inhale enough of it it will replace the oxygen in your system and cause you to asphyxiate. Even if you breath air between balloons, you still run a risk. Most people take one hit of helium and are done, and that's usually fine. Just don't keep doing it over a short period of time.

They also said in the article ""It blew her lungs out," Earp said. "It exploded them. It created air pockets in her veins. Then it went up into her brain and blew it up." This pretty clearly indicates it was a pressure thing and not asphyxiation.
Old 02-29-12, 04:22 PM
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Re: If you're gonna breath helium, do it from a balloon, not from a tank.

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
Reacting chemically with other elements has nothing to do with the danger of helium (or any some other gas). It displaces oxygen, no matter how it's ingested. Do it enough from several balloons and you're in trouble.
This. Heliums danger lies in it being an asphyxiant. If enough of it gets into the air in an enclosed space, lets say a basement, it will drop the oxygen level.

But, the article is very misleading. In fact the first link I clicked on, after doing a google search, was some tool saying he has been telling people of the dangers of inhaling helium for years, and using this article as an "I told you so". In reality, there could have been any gas in that tank, and it would have had the same tragic effect.

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