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A Rising Concern? After Straws, Balloons Get More Scrutiny

by Candice Choi
Thursday Aug 16, 2018
In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo balloons are released in Memorial Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Indiana and Michigan in Bloomington, Ind.
In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo balloons are released in Memorial Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Indiana and Michigan in Bloomington, Ind.  (Source:AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

Now that plastic straws may be headed for extinction, could Americans' love of balloons get deflated too?

The celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them. So as companies vow to banish plastic straws, there are signs balloons will be among the products getting more scrutiny, even though they're a very small part of environmental pollution.

College football powerhouse Clemson University is ending its tradition of releasing 10,000 balloons into the air before games. In Virginia, a campaign that urges alternatives to balloon releases at weddings is expanding. And a Rhode Island town outright banned the sale of all balloons this year, citing harm to marine life.

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