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An employee at Dan D Party Corner in Cheyenne, Wyo., Lee Medina, stands near a close-to-empty helium tank used to fill balloons on Sept. 22, 2011. A dwindling supply of helium worldwide is putting more than the future of party balloons in jeopardy. The precious, non-renewable gas has important applications related to manufacturing, scientific research and medical care — including cutting-edge research on respiratory illness at an Ontario laboratory. (Mead Gruver/The Canadian Press/AP)
An employee at Dan D Party Corner in Cheyenne, Wyo., Lee Medina, stands near a close-to-empty helium tank used to fill balloons on Sept. 22, 2011. A dwindling supply of helium worldwide is putting more than the future of party balloons in jeopardy. The precious, non-renewable gas has important applications related to manufacturing, scientific research and medical care — including cutting-edge research on respiratory illness at an Ontario laboratory. (Mead Gruver/The Canadian Press/AP)

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