A big thank You to the one and only, Mark "Bad to the Balloon" Byrne for permission to reprint his thoughts. This was shared on the magic Cafe. "Latex Allergy Statistics The current statistics for people sensitized to natural rubber latex are broken down by risk groups and are as follows: 8-17% of health care workers Up to 68% of children with spina bifida (related to frequent surgeries - anyone who has multiple surgeries is at risk) Less than 1% of the general population in the U.S. (about 3 million people) US population 308,064,954 Rubber and products made of rubber contain a high amount of protein. People with latex allergies get an allergic reaction caused by this protein in rubber products. Latex allergy symptoms can be mild or severe and will cause many problems for people with this allergy as many products contain rubber nowadays. Items made with soft stretchy rubber such as used in latex rubber gloves cause the most problems. Soft rubber causes more allergic reactions than hard rubber used for example in car tyres. Quite often soft rubber items such as gloves and balloons are coated with a thin layer of corn starch to make them easier to use. Tiny particles of rubber stick to this starch and fly off through the air when a wrapper containing the rubber product is opened. In places where rubber gloves are put on frequently such as hospitals, the air can be filled with tiny rubber dust particles. Products That Contain Latex Many products that are much used around the home and at work contain rubber. For people sensitive to allergies it I important to know what products contain the soft rubber that usually causes this problem. A few examples of these items are: Balloons Rubber toys for dogs and children. Pacifiers and baby bottle nipples. Rubber bands. Condoms. Medical supplies such as catheters" This is the latex free mantra. So because 1% of the population has a problem the other 99% should suffer or be inconvenienced? Listen if you have ANY KIND of allergy you know what to avoid and do. Whether it is peanut, cologne or milk. What ever happened to it's your problem not mine. This PC correct society sickens me sometimes. I think this mentality developed around the same time as people suddenly got the right of way crossing the street anytime they like. When I was a kid you got smacked in the head if you didn't look both way before crossing the street ... now kids walk across the street looking down with an Ipod and a phone. And your supposed to come to a screeching stop because they are entitled to cross where and whenever they like. What a jerk you are if you honk your horn.... How much energy is wasted daily by cars stopping for these idiots? Back to latex .... Latex Nazis want all latex banned no matter what. They don't care if it is fun, useful or essential to others. they also won't listen to reason in any way shape or form. They don't care it is a natural product from a recurring resource. Example: Did you know Qualatex balloons go through a leaching process to rid the exterior of the balloon of the protein at the root cause of allergies? No because the Latex Nazis bury that info. If they can't ban balloons for allergies they make up fake stats on choking of balloons. Think about how many balloon are out there on a daily basis. Have you ever heard of a recall or law suit against a balloon manufacturer? No??? Now think of how many toys and happy meal products that have been recalled by stores and restaurants. Several times per year .... which gets the moniker of number one choking hazard for kids BALLOONS!! Number one choking hazard for kids is Hot Dogs. Number one killer of children vehicle crashes 2542 children anyone ever stop you from putting your kids in the car? Anyone ever stop you from giving a kid a balloon because DUNN DUNN DUNN.... it is dangerous!! "More than 2,800 people die each year from choking; many of them are children. According to one study, nearly two-thirds of the children who choked to death during a 20-year period were 3 years old or younger. The majority of choking deaths are caused by toys and household items. One study found that nearly 70 percent of choking deaths among children age 3 and under were caused by toys and other products made for children. According to CDC, balloons account for 7 to 10 deaths a year. And the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received reports of five deaths from bean bag chairs, resulting from children choking on the small foam pellets inside. The most common cause of nonfatal choking incidents is food. In one study, nearly 70 percent of choking cases presented in the emergency department were caused by foods such as hotdogs, nuts, and vegetable and fruit pieces." The above is a mishmash statistics, break it down. 2,800 deaths 2/3 were children under 3 years old. that is 1,800 give or take. 70% of the 3 and under crowd died of toys (1,260 children) Out of 1,260 deaths what do they identify as a high risk? Balloons and bean bags!!! together they account for less than 1% of that. WHAT THE HECK IS THE TOYS that cause 99% of deaths!!!!!!!! In the CDC report I own, yes I commissioned my government to give me a report. I found this. All balloon related injuries and incidents are about balloon related items. HUH??? what is that? string from balloons, mylar balloons, bladders in toys like frog tongues, and super elastic bubble plastic. Also not one manufacturer of balloons is named in any suits with balloons. BTW the rate of balloon choking deaths is an unconfirmed 7 -10 per decade. How can it be???? Because statics lie. They are commissioned or made up to support someone's agenda. anytime you see stats with a margin or more than 5% one way or the other it is most probably a lie. I am sure that is the Latex Nazis banging on my door right now...... http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/indoors/food_safety/latex/latex.htm : "Who is at risk? Those at risk include people whose job or medical status puts them in frequent direct contact with latex. Health care workers and dental workers are those most often exposed to latex, principally by using latex gloves that are powdered to make them easier to put on. The powder binds with the latex proteins and becomes airborne. It can then be inhaled and cause an allergic response. People at increased risk include: multiple allergy sufferers; children with spina bifida or multiple surgeries at an early age; health care workers: doctors, nurses, surgical staff, dentists, dental hygienists, emergency medical services personnel, lab technicians; people who undergo frequent medical procedures such as catheterization; anyone working in the latex rubber industry (tire factories, rubber manufacturing and glove manufacturing); child care providers; food service workers; housekeeping staff in and outside health care facilities; law enforcement professionals; firefighters; funeral home employees; hairdressers; people with a history of worsening allergic reaction to foods known to cross react (see below) with natural rubber latex." You notice all those people have one thing in common.... rubber gloves!! The process for making rubber gloves is different than balloons. The material is thinner and there is no blanching process. Also the glove is worn on the mold side next to the skin. Has anyone in the rubber glove business thought of blanching their product and inverting the glove??? Wouldn't it be amazing if this was the solution? Personally I don't think many other people are as exposed to latex in their career as much as me. • I had a rare skin disorder as a child, that mimicked hemophilia. In and out of hospitals for first 4 years of my life. Constant bandage changes (elastic), health care workers I am sure wore latex glove back then (while smoking a cigarette). • I was a food services worker from 14 - 25yo. Rubber gloves were the norm. • I was in the Air Force as a security police force. weekly we would don our chemical warfare suits all latex. • I was a factory print worker, again rubber gloves. • I have been balloon artist for over 25 years. • I climb into a balloon at least 4 times per week. That is over 40 years of exposure!!! you would think something would happen. If the stats hold out of the 1,000 balloon friends I have I think at least 150 would be out of work by now.I have never heard of any of them stopping because of allergies. If 1% of population has a latex allergy the percentage of those people at risk of injury is significantly less than that. Latex anaphylactic shock is extremely rare .... like winning the lottery numbers! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis "Due in part to the variety of definitions, between 1% and 15% of the population of the United States can be considered "at risk" for having an anaphylactic reaction if they are exposed to one or more allergens, especially penicillin and insect stings. Most of these people successfully avoid their allergens and will never experience anaphylaxis. Of those people who actually experience anaphylaxis, up to 1% may die as a result. Anaphylaxis results in approximately 1,500 deaths per year in the U.S. (one out of every 1,600 of the 2.4 million deaths from all causes each year in the U.S.;). The most common presentation includes sudden cardiovascular collapse (88% of reported cases of severe anaphylaxis). In England, mortality rates for anaphylaxis have been reported as up to 0.05 per 100,000 population, or around 10-20 a year." These number are just for anaphylactic shock .... NOT latex related. Mainly combine allergens and insect bites. My daughter has gone into anaphylactic shock from a spider bite. Do I hide her in her room? No she knows what is safe and not. And we keep an epi-pen handy. Do I want to ban spiders .... your kidding right? Do I want to put children and families in danger? Your kidding again, right? No what I want is people to stop spewing crap statistic and false info. Think before speaking. Standard Balloon/Clown/Hack response: Small child at table: "I can't give your child a balloon, they are a choking hazard you know!!!" Yuck yuck!! Mine: Small child at table: "Hi didn't want to skip your table, would you like a balloon for your child or do you think they are too young" Let the parent make the choice Parent: "No my kid will choke on that, you know that is the number ONE choking hazard!" Standard Balloon/Clown/Hack response: "Oh your right!" Mine: "That is not true, number one choking hazard is food. But I will agree they are not a good source of fiber" Idiot: "Balloons are killing the environment, animals eat them and die!!!" Standard Balloon/Clown/Hack response: "Oh your right!" Mine: "Really what proof do you have of this? Though balloons have been found inside marine animals, they have also found license plates, whole bottles of beer, medieval armor and wallet. None of those were the cause of death either." Stand up for Balloon Rights, Now!!! Thanks, Mark.