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S0UEAK LEAK; World running out of helium.

Byline: Cara Page

THE world is running out of helium, scientists warned yesterday.

Demand for the gas is far outstripping supply - despite it being the second most abundant element in the universe.

Helium is found in natural gas reserves in the USA, but it is so light and fast that it often escapes before it can be isolated.

Dr Andrea Sella of University College London's Department of Chemistry warned: 'Helium is able to escape from the Earth's pull of gravity and leaks away.

'The US holds 80 per cent of the world's supplies and demand for helium has grown by five per cent over the past 10 years.'

Helium is used in hospital MRI scanners, as rocket fuel and for kids' party balloons. If it is inhaled, it raises the pitch of the voice.

A noble gas, it was discovered by Scottish scientist Sir William Ramsay 100 years ago today.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 10, 2004
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