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I have a question about the helium method of euthanasia. I was under the impression that the helium that can be purchased from a local retail establishment is not 100% helium but that it is mixed with air in some major proportion.

Do you know if this is true or even likely? If it is true, can you suggest a supplier of 100% helium?

Another question: Can pure helium be stored for relatively long periods of time or does it escape relatively quickly from it’s storage tank?

Thanks for your help. –Michael Young, Wichita, Kansas

REPLY BY DEREK HUMPHRY: There has been ‘scare talk’ about the helium in party balloon kits being diluted. But it has never happened. Beware of the irresponsible, ill-informed talk that you see on some web sites.

(1) Nobody has ever reported to me an actual case of dilution; (2) the law requires that the manufacturer states clearly on the canister what it contains — that has not happened, and if it did you would see the warning; (3) party balloon kits are a multi-million dollar worldwide business — to dilute the tanks just for the few of us who might buy for self-deliverance would not make commercial sense; (4) if the tanks were diluted with air, the helium would not work for self-deliverance, but they would also not work for their intended purposes.

(I know for a fact that the chief manufacturer is fully aware that occasionally its product is used for self-deliverance. Just don’t mention their name.)

The only party balloon kit to avoid is one coming out of China and has purple tanks. They are far too small. Very distinct PURPLE tanks.

As to storage of helium tanks: provided they are not tampered with, and the handle kept tightly screwed down by hand, they should last indefinitely. 04/2006

Literature relevant to this subject at the ERGO store.

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