Gases and engineering company BOC has launched an education campaign warning of the dangers of inhaling balloon gas.
BOC has joined forces with ELGAS, the Australian New Zealand Industrial Gas Association and the Balloon Artists and Suppliers Association to produce a community service announcement urging the public to “stop and be gas wise.”
Voiced by iconic Australian actor Michael Caton, the 30 second video depicts a family setting up for a children’s party. When the father intends inhaling gas from a balloon for amusement, common-sense prevails when the mother intervenes to stop him.
“We’ve all seen this at one time or another, some of us may even have done it ourselves, but inhaling balloon gas is very dangerous and can be fatal,’’ Mr Caton says in the announcement.
“The helium in balloon gas acts as an asphyxiant and when you inhale it displaces the oxygen in your lungs.
“Balloon gas is safe in balloons and when you release it in a well-ventilated area and in a safe manner.
“So the next time you see some sucker about to inhale balloon gas or you think it is going to be a laugh, stop and be gas wise,’’ he says.
General Manager of Communications for BOC, Melissa Hayes, said with the party season approaching it was important that people were reminded of the risks to human health associated with inhaling balloon gas.
The launch of the community service announcement also follows cases of high-profile celebrities and media personalities in Australia and overseas promoting the inhalation of balloon gasfor entertainment value.
“Unfortunately it is no laughing matter,’’ Ms Hayes said.
“As a leading gas and engineering company, BOC places a high value on public education and safety.
“The depiction of people inhaling balloon gas and speaking in ‘squeaky voices’ gives the impression that it is not only harmless, but a fun thing to do which causes the industrial gas industry considerable concern.
“BOC is committed to ensuring that industrial gases are only used for the correct purposes. We urge people to always follow the safety warnings and use industrial gases only in the manners for which they are intended.
“There are many risks associated with the misuse of balloon gas such as restricting a person’s oxygen supply and rupturing the lungs from inhaling too deeply.
“The best advice is to avoid this behaviour as it is not worth the risk for the sake of a joke,’’ Ms Hayes said.
BOC’s community service announcement urging the public to “stop and be gas wise” will appear on television and social media in the coming weeks. For more information and to view the announcement, visit begaswise.com