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Balloon releases

In the interest of fair and balanced news coverage, I must address factual inaccuracies about balloons found in your recent article regarding Sen. Jeffrey McWaters, R-Virginia Beach, recently proposed Senate Bill 1107, which would ban all balloon releases in the state of Virginia (“Virginia may ban releasing balloons into the atmosphere,” Jan. 30).

Latex balloons are a fully biodegradable, 100 percent natural product made from the milky sap of the rubber tree. Research has demonstrated a latex balloon will degrade at approximately the same rate as an oak leaf.

The Balloon Council, a national association of balloon manufacturers, distributors and retailers, has developed standards for balloon releases in order to minimize environmental impact. These guidelines recommend the use of self-tied, biodegradable balloons without attachments, including strings, plastic plugs or other weighted objects.

Sen. McWaters may say he's not anti-balloon, but tell that to the many hardworking Virginians who sell balloons for their livelihood. This bill would only end up harming struggling business owners.

Lorna O’Hara

Trenton, New Jersey