Boycotts: Balloons Of Doom

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Now that you've mothballed your fur coat and promised to eat only dolphin- friendly tuna, here comes the latest sacrifice for the animal kingdom: balloons. The mass launching of helium-filled balloons, once a fixture of homecoming games and political rallies, may soon go the way of goldfish swallowing. Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee have led the way in outlawing the practice because ecologists contend that the balloons are eventually eaten by marine animals. The resulting blockages can bring death by suffocation or hunger.

Balloon-industry boosters insist that the product typically ends its life by shattering at high altitudes into harmless, biodegradable smithereens. But the argument is lost on some of the most fervent balloon fanciers: children. In Louisville fourth-grade students successfully campaigned for a local law to forbid outdoor launchings.