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New bill to ban certain balloons

April 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
California would become the first state to ban helium-filled metallic balloons under a bill unanimously advanced Tuesday by a legislative committee. Power companies say the innocent looking balloons are also great conductors of electricity. If the balloons float into power lines they can cause outages.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Carlos Granda's report, including an interview with a vender.

Balloons caused more than 200 power outages last year.

"It will drift between the power lines and if it should make contact with them it becomes the way that the electricity wants to go and it short circuits the electricity," said Greg Simay, Burbank Power.

State Senator Jack Scott from Burbank is proposing a law to ban metallic mylar balloons in California.

"In my own district Burbank there were eight outages in the city of Burbank in one year," said Senator Scott.

Joker Party Supplies sells thousands of mylar balloons. Owner Shant Celikian says a ban would take the air out of his business.

"Half of our business is balloons and a majority of that is foil balloons and mylar balloons. If they do put a ban on balloons it is going to have a devastating effect on the local economy," said Celikian.

Already the state of California has some very strict laws regarding mylar balloons. Everyone of them has to be weighted down.

Venders who sell the balloons say perhaps there can be other rules put in place, but not ban them all together.

"Maybe attaching a clip so they do not float away. Also putting bigger signs to warn the consumer or maybe coming up with a foil that doesn't conduct electricity. I think these are good options instead of banning balloons altogether. Next thing you know they are going to want to ban ice cream," said Celikian.

Celikian says that he and other business owners will fight it. If this passes California will become the first state to ban helium filled metallic balloons.

 

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