All About Balloons
Balloons - in one form or another - have been around for centuries. But the modern latex balloon, the kind you can blow up yourself or fill with helium was invented in New England USA during the Great Depression.
A chemical engineer, frustrated in his attempts to make inner tubes from this new product - liquid latex, scrawled a cat's head on a piece of cardboard and dipped it in the latex. When it dried, Neil Tillotson had a "cat balloon" complete with ears.
He made about 2,000 balloons and sold them on the street during Boston's annual Patriot Day parade.
In the late 1970's, silver metalised balloons were developed for the New York City Ballet. These balloons are commonly called Mylar or Foil, but they are actually made from a metalized nylon.
Latex Balloons are 100% biodegradable. Latex is a 100% natural substance that breaks down both in sunlight and water. The degradation process begins almost immediately. Oxidation, the "frosting" that makes latex balloons look as if they are loosing their colour, is one of the first signs of the process. Exposure to sunlight quickens the process, but natural microorganisms attack natural rubber even in the dark.
Research shows that under similar environmental conditions, latex balloons will biodegrade at about the same rate as a leaf from an oak tree. The actual total degradation time will vary depending on the precise conditions.