Balloons are colorful, happy and fun – which means they will soon be wholly outlawed.

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

The growing trend has been to regulate, warn against or downright outlaw things we enjoy.

Don’t go in the sun. Stop eating salt. Watch your kids’ toys for lead levels.

Stay away from balloons – they pose too many hazards.

Balloons are already riddled with restrictions in some states, like Virginia, where it’s illegal to release balloons into the air.

“Balloons return to the land and sea where they can be mistaken for prey and eaten by animals,” says the Balloons as Litter web page. They especially resemble jellyfish and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, dolphins, sea turtles and whales, one of which was found dead in 1985.

An infant sperm whale starved to death because it ate an inflated Mylar balloon that lodged in its intestines.

While we don’t have to worry about balloons killing sperm whales here in Tucson, balloons still pose choking hazards to our kids and pets.

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

We also have flurries of balloons dancing along the road, ready to distract the already distractible drivers.

A trek through town on any given day showcases numerous examples of balloons trying to get motorist eyes off the road. Balloons beckon to instead check out amazing sales or apartment complexes touting the first month free.

Bursting balloons can send children into a tantrum or scare the bejesus out of hospital patients trying to recover. Some hospitals don’t allow them, period. Others don’t allow latex balloons due to the latex allergy craze.

Go to bigger balloons and we get even bigger hazards. A hot air balloon crashed Feb. 17 near Interstate 8 about 40 miles west of Gila Bend, according to an announcement from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

No one was hurt – save for the red and white balloon. DPS crews and U.S. Border Patrol air and ground units located the balloon’s pilot and three passengers.

See how much trouble these dang balloons can be?


Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

Mass release of balloons is illegal in several states and cities, including Virginia. Jurisdictions that have laws in effect dealing with balloon releases include: Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Texas, California and Virginia. Cities of Ocean City, Maryland; Louisville; Huntsville, Ala.; San Francisco; and Baltimore.

Source: Legislation regulating the release of balloons on Clean Virginia Waterways site

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski

Balloons in Tucson/Ryn Gargulinski


What do you think?

Are you a balloon fan?

Have you seen balloons cause mayhem?

Are balloon restrictions warranted or ridiculous?