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Claim: Helium-Filled Balloons Not Causing Power Outages

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Terri Adishian, vice-president of Balloon Wholesalers International, writes an impassioned editorial in today's Los Angeles Times on the Senate's decision to push forward a bill to ban foil helium balloons and make it illegal to sell them in California. Balloon opponents claim that the foiled devils caused as many as 250 of the 6,000 power outages seen in California last year (they say they get tangled in the wires). But Adishian says there's no evidence that even a single balloon caused an outage--and that banning the balloons would mean a economic loss of $100 million for the state. "Faced with a crumbling transportation system, a $15-billion deficit, overcrowded and underperforming schools and a budget system in desperate need of reform, the state Senate has chosen to turn its attention to protecting California from the threat of helium-filled foil balloons....For families who want to add to the fun at birthday parties, help cheer up a sick loved one, congratulate a friend or say "I love you," this bill would be as welcome as a skunk at a garden party."
· What's helium-filled, foil -- and harmless? [LA Times]