Helium is next on the list of things to worry about, as even doctors are now drawing the alarm.
The worldwide helium shortage could have devastating consequences on multiple industries – and could even affect healthcare.
A new report shows how liquid helium, a non-renewable element that’s been in short supply for the past few years, could make hospitals struggle to offer MRIs to patients.
According to NBC News, an MRI machine needs about 2,000 liters of liquid helium, the world’s coldest substance, in order to cool its powerful magnets.
Until now, expectations were that a large new facility in Russia could supply up to a third of the world’s need for helium but, with the invasion of the Ukraine, that supply line was cut. Because of this, four of five major U.S. helium suppliers are rationing the element for all uses and helium costs have risen as much as 30%.
“Helium is on allocation for sure. We’re probably not blowing up balloons in the gift shop anymore,” Donna Craft, someone working with helium suppliers for hospitals in the US, told NBC News.