Global helium shortage hits Rogue Valley

Retailers will have to decide if they're willing to pay the extra cost, but some places are already having a difficult time getting helium.

Posted: May 14, 2019 6:53 PM

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. -- A global shortage of helium could start affecting every day life. Helium is used for more than just balloons.
Many industries that require helium, like the medical field, could be in danger.

NewsWatch12 spoke with several stores today and a lot of them are having a hard time getting their normal supply of helium.
Some stores are doing okay still, but they have had to increase their prices. Filling one balloon costs more than four dollars at some locations.

Many people do not realize that helium is a non-renewable resource. It is made on earth through nuclear decay of uranium, and it is recovered from mines. The United States' had a large supply that lasted several decades, so helium prices used to be cheaper.
Now tnat supply is limited and prices are increasing drastically. 

The manager of Central Welding Supply in White City, Bruce Tozer, said they've been preparing for the shortage since last year to make sure they would still be able to get helium to their customers.

"We are having to go out to worldwide markets to bring into helium and so we're going to see those prices go up because of limited supplies or the fact that we have to go to foreign markets to get them," Tozer said. 

He said up until now the United States had paid a low price for helium, especially when compared to the rest of the world.

"We are having to go out to worldwide markets to bring into helium and so we're going to see those prices go up because of limited supplies or the fact that we have to go to foreign markets to get them," Tozer explained. 

Tozer sells several tanks at Central Welding Supply, including helium, "We have a number of customers and the consumer products and there are some people who use it for research and development."

There's helium available, but mainly in other countries, and the helium in other countries is much more expensive.

Tozer said, "We've paid a very low price for helium up until now, and again there's other resources around the world that have been paying a lot more for helium."

Other countries charge ten times as much for helium. NewsWatch12 looked up the prices for helium and the average was a few hundred dollars in the U.S., but in other countries, one tank is thousands of dollars.

Ever since Central Welding Supply heard of the shortage a year ago, they began preparing as best they could.

Tozer said, "So actually our supply chain is increasing over the next couple of months because we've been planning for this. doesn't mean the prices won't be going up because they will be."

Now retailers will just have to decide if they're willing to pay the extra cost and some places are already having a difficult time getting helium.

Myles Doshier, the Assistant Manager of Sherm's Food 4 Less, said, "So when we ordered we're not getting the quantity that we order it's still arriving but not as much is for asking you know we have to have helium to inflate balloons so that's kind of the deal."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4243

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah116559
Marion96025
Washington73917
Clackamas31211
Deschutes1250
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane733
Yamhill707
Jackson660
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Jefferson330
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine231
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111951

Reported Deaths: 4172
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles550012362
Riverside7486323
San Diego7481269
Orange6261147
San Bernardino5246204
Alameda339096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco258842
Kern225038
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa145037
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7464
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5534
Monterey53010
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2159
Santa Cruz2132
Yolo21124
Napa1123
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Sutter462
Del Norte450
Butte440
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Amador190
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 71°
Brookings
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 65°
Crater Lake
Scattered Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 65°
Grants Pass
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Scattered Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 65°
Warm Monday, isolated showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Monday, June 1 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, June 1 morning weather

Image

Klamath Falls Protest

Image

Sunday, May 31 evening weather

Image

Protests fill the streets of downtown Ashland

Image

Sunday, May 31 morning weather

Image

Saturday, May 20 evening weather

Image

Saturday, May 30 morning weather

Image

Hundreds, including local police and firefighters, support Class of 2020 in graduation parades

Image

Fink, Ristvedt honored as Ad Rutschman Small College Athletes of the Year