Created: 05/23/2012 8:51 PM KSTC45.com | Print Story
By: Mark Saxenmeyer
A helium shortage in the U.S. might make it harder, or at least more expensive, to get those balloons for birthdays and graduation.
Some distributors say the cost of helium has almost doubled in recent months. As a result they're unable to provide places like floral shops with their usual helium shipments.
There's also concern that the shortage might potentially affect hospitals that use helium to cool MRI machines. Some medical facilities are even looking into ways to recycle helium so they don't have to purchase as much.
The shortage is due, in part, to the temporary shut down of plants that extract helium from natural gas.
Analysts predict the helium shortage will last at least through the end of the summer.