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It might be wise, if a person is contemplating using the ‘helium hood method’ for self-deliverance from an unbearable terminal illness one day in the future, to purchase two tanks now.

Helium is becoming in short supply, partly because of increased worldwide demand, and its more frequent use by industry. For example, I am told that with the spread of medical MRI machines, the electromagnets need to be super-cooled in order to increase the conductivity of the wires in the magnets, so that huge magnetic fields can be developed. The way they do this is to deliver liquid helium (extremely cold) to the magnets, and as it ‘boils off’ it provides cooling, but the helium is lost. (Grateful to Jerry Metz for this explanation,)

As with anything that is in short supply, the cost goes up. Same with the price of helium. Stock up.

Do not ask the sales assistant for ‘helium, please.’ Advisable to ask for a ‘children’s party balloon kit’. Stores do not carry huge supplies, so it might be out of stock at the moment you inquire. Try again.

Best to get two tanks of helium from your local toy store, or party store, now. Store them in a secure place where they cannot be tampered with. Such tanks — being children’s toys — are not built to high engineering standards, but they should last 2-3 years.

Helium is extracted from wells in the earth, and there are plans to greatly increase production, so this shortage problem may go away in a few years.

Stay well! — Derek Humphry, Oregon, USA 11/20/07 E R G O

6 Responses to “Helium inert gas in short supply”

  1. theresa says:

    Thank you Mr. Humphry for the update.
    I would like to ask some questions regarding the helium procedure.
    Instead of using a t-tube/t-valve, why not use two separate lines? I ask this because of the possibility of a leak or disconnection at the time of use. Also one might consider securing the tubing to the tank with a small pipe attachment band (these are commonly used in plumbing). You tighten the band with a screw for a snug fit.
    I am aware that a reclined position is recommended, but could the patient be supine? Would this impede the objective?
    Thank you, T.

    ANSWER: These are matters about which a person must make their own decisions, preferably after testing. The fullest information is in ‘Final Exit’ paperback and DVD at http://www.finalexit.org/ergo-store

  2. nleeburrem says:

    Thank you Derek, for the update on helium. This message was of utmost importance to me as I have not yet made my purchase. I will wait no longer.

  3. lori0108 says:

    Hello friends,

    I came across this article regarding the helium shortage. Most party supply stores will no longer even rent the actual filled tanks, only pre-filled balloons. A very few stores will still rent tanks, but require local pick-up and local Id in their particular states. This article helps explains the shortage.


    Basically, there seems to be a somewhat limited supply worldwide, but sources are definitely still available with some research. I would be happy to provide my research info if anyone is interested.

    I am grateful to Derek and ERGO for keeping us informed on such topics. Otherwise, I would not have even known of this concern. This forum is priceless for those of us in need of continuous and updated info. Thank you!


  4. ruby2zdy says:

    I just ordered a small helium tank from Target on line. They don’t carry them in stores. Amazon also sells them for Target. Price is $49.99. Although I don’t plan to use it anytime soon, I’m afraid the government will put the kibosh on suicide for terminally ill people. I have a high risk for Alzheimer’s, though it might not get me for 30 years. I figure even if the He leaks out of the tank, I might be able to get a refill from an industrial shop. I hope.

  5. eastward says:

    Is there any way that it could be done by purchasing 5 balloons or so and taking gulps from each. I am afraid that the helium tanks or canisters will not be available.

  6. ergo says:

    There is no way that gulping from balloons would be fatal. Helium would be adultered with oxygen. BTW, there is no indication that the tanks will not remain on the market — it’s big busines.

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