TTLG|Thief|Bioshock|System Shock|Deus Ex|Mobile
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29

Thread: Inhaling helium from a balloon - harmful?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2000
    Location: Austin, TX

    Inhaling helium from a balloon - harmful?

    I was just curious as to any effects on the body inhaling helium would have. I really have NO IDEA why it temporarily raises the pitch on people's voice (funny as all hell though) but is it causing some sort of a strain on vocal chords or does the actual gas itself affect the lungs/brain/whatever when someone inhales a bunch from a balloon? (And I say balloon because the high pressure of a helium tank sounds like it could be dangerous, blowing massive amounts of the stuff very rapidly into the body)

    So.. tell me about helium

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Off the TTLG bus
    Inhaling helium will kill you. It will heliumerize your lung tissue, giving you cancer very quickly.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: End of level boss!
    I'm pretty sure EJsmith is joking. I'm pretty sure that it's because helium is much less dense than air (nitrogen and oxygen?) and so it sounds higher pitch.. Helium is very inert and so I don't see how it can cause cancer..

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Apr 1999
    Location: Fatteh's laundry basket.

    What Convict said on the high voice part. Helium is harmless, divers use a mix of it and oxygen in their air tanks.
    Glory to the pipe, for it is the holy symbol of perfection in its lead simplicity! ...until you find a Sparq 10 minutes later.

    ..::get System Shock 1::..

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2004
    Location: At the MW forums. NZ
    It's as harmless as a fly. But a fly can kill you. No side effects or anything since it is inert but not a good idea to use a helium tank as it could suffercate you(more helium=less oxygen)

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia
    It can only be dangerous in that if the balloons you're sucking have nothing besides helium in them, you're starving yourself of oxygen. So take breaths in between, I suppose. Not sure how much oxygen balloon-helium has in it, if there's any at all.

  7. #7
    FW:FW:FW: SO TRUE!!!
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Seaside, Oregon
    A whiff or two from a balloon won't be likely to hurt you. Nor would a lungfull from a tank, at best you would get dizzy or pass out from anoxia. Then recover when you started to breathe again. The physiology of the CO2/O2 function of the body would most likely restart your breathing, provided you don't have a hose in your mouth pumping Helium into your lungs.

    But the high pressure from a tank can rupture your lungs if you are not extremely careful. Much like a scuba diver who breathes straight from the tank when the regulator packs up at depth. It is feasible and possible. But this technique is not for the amatuer.
    Last edited by theBlackman; 7th Feb 2004 at 22:01.

  8. #8
    BANNED
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: Bach lobster! BWV B-52S
    Also compressed gases drop in temperature harshamente when released, so an idiot could flash-freeze his lungs. Could; note I said his: women tend to be more prudent-na-ga-da in these things.

  9. #9
    FW:FW:FW: SO TRUE!!!
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Seaside, Oregon
    Good point Buglunch. It's more likely that if the valve was opened that much that the inside of the mouth would get "burned" and the victim (read that stupid individual) would drop the hose, or tank before flashfreezing the lining of the esophagous or lungs.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: The Nostromo
    A group of my friends and I got ahold of a bunch of helium balloons at a club we were drinking at and spent most of the evening entertaining ourselves with said balloons gaseous content.

    We didn't die, but MY GOD, we had headaches the next day.


  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2003
    Location: Still hoarding rope arrows
    Breathing helium from a balloon is not advisable. You or your buddy could pass out from a lack of oxygen. Been there, done that. Very stupid.

    Me: (superhigh helium voice) whee ! I can sing like Minnie Mouse La La La ! giggle,giggle
    My buddy: (superhigh helium voice) Helooo Kitty ! Meow meow meow! Giggle
    Me : (superhigh helium voice) Why is the cat looking at us like that ? Me-yow, Kitty!
    My buddy: (superhigh helium voice) Don't know ... Don't feel good... Here kitty, ki... WHAM ! Out cold on the floor
    Me: O crap ! (frantic) Wake up ! wake up !
    My buddy: What am I doing down here ? I don't feel good...

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: The Nostromo
    lol...our evening was pretty much the same thing ‘cept we were using foul language and lewd innuendo.

    (don't try this at home, kids)


  13. #13
    BANNED
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: Bach lobster! BWV B-52S
    Iron Butterfly (and other bands) used helium bags with tubes and wah-wahs a lot in early Seventies; they called it the Electric Chicken, played live by either Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt or by Mike Pinera (from Blues Image OMFGzor!) .

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Finland
    The fun gotten from inhaling helium easily outweight any possible medical problems.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
    I've had a few helium binges, and have learned that you need to do so with caution. One good puff will make you dizzy, dim your vision, and turn your lips blue.

    Fun as hell though. Never sucked enough that I passed out. Best thing to do was suck some down, then take some orders on the phone (I work at a pizza place).

  16. #16
    jtr7
    Guest
    It's best to inhale it from a balloon. Inhaling it from a tank can rupture your lungs when the helium expands. Take smaller breaths of helium then breathe normally for awhile between helium intakes. It also helps if your judgement is not disabled or impaired.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    depends on the size of the balloon :-)

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Off the TTLG bus
    All of this reminds me.

    Have you ever watched a documentary on those deep ocean divers? That use a mixture of helium and oxygen?

    When they're talking to the surface ships, they have an INTERPRETER present. It's just another diver that's doing duty as an interpreter, because the divers voices are SO screwed up, it sounds like that one snouted guy in the Mos Eisley cantana. Talking in binary and stuff.

    Cracked me up when I first saw it, and it was painfully obvious you'd have to have an interpreter.

  19. #19
    Goggleboy
    Guest
    Inhaling helium does about as much harm as doing this:

    1) Exhale as much air out of your lungs as you can.
    2) Pinch your nose and keep your mouth shut.
    3) Hold, for the duration of time it would take you to speak a high-pitched helium sentence.
    4) Inhale.

    However inhaling helium only and then attempting to hold your breath is probably a bad idea. Remember, when holding your breath the carbon dioxide poisoning will hurt you sooner than oxygen deprivation.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: End of level boss!
    lol...our evening was pretty much the same thing ‘cept we were using foul language and lewd innuendo.
    Sure it wasn't nitrous oxide?

  21. #21
    FW:FW:FW: SO TRUE!!!
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Seaside, Oregon
    Originally posted by Goggleboy
    However inhaling helium only and then attempting to hold your breath is probably a bad idea. Remember, when holding your breath the carbon dioxide poisoning will hurt you sooner than oxygen deprivation.
    Actually, CO2 poisoning per se, is not possible in this situation. Lack of O2 and CO2 buildup might cause you to lose consciousness. But unless you crack your skull when you passout from lack of O2, or fall off a balcony to the street below, you will recover shortly as the CO2 triggers the breathing mechanism.

    You don't breathe because of O2. You breathe because the CO2 triggers the physiological mechanism that causes you to breathe.

    For example: Breathing pure O2 for a minute or so, and then taking a lungful of pure O2, will allow you to not breathe for up to three minutes (average person) but then the buildup of CO2 will start to trigger the breathing system.

    I won't bore you with the physiological mechanism of Chemoreceptors and blood gas partial pressures that make this system work.

  22. #22
    BANNED
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: Bach lobster! BWV B-52S

    If you breathe in only through a mouthpiece that delivers O2 and the other gases but no CO2 and your exhaled breath is removed, you will stop breathing eventually and pass out, even though you have lots of oxygen.

  23. #23
    Originally posted by Convict
    Sure it wasn't nitrous oxide?
    Quite sure. Nitrous oxide is commonly used as a sleeping gas, even though small doses make you laugh. Never heard that it also has a helium-effect on the voice.

    BTW, if you really have to try it, realize nitrous oxide is probably carcinogenic, so don't overdo it.

  24. #24
    Oh god, will you fuckin' quit it with the horror stories.

    Nitrous isn't carcinogenic. Who's ass are you pulling this from?

    The FDA considered further study warranted on the issue, in 1981. Since then every reputable study has shown no evidence of any link between N2O and cancer.

    There are enough legitimate (though often miscited) concerns associated with the stuff, that you don't need to be making up new bullshit.
    This calls for a delicate blend of psychology and extreme violence.

  25. #25
    Apparently not, even though I have found an MSDS saying it's mutagen.

    Learned this at university last year though. A professor specialized in atmospheric chemistry is supposed to know.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •