A University of Cambridge chemist will advocate for a ban on party balloons at this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in Britain.

“The scarcity of helium is a really serious issue. I can imagine that in 50 years time our children will be saying, ‘I can’t believe they used such a precious material to fill balloons,’” said the doctor, Peter Wothers.

The non-renewable gas is a necessity in hospitals, where it is used to cool magnets in MRI scanners and mixed with oxygen to allow ill patients and newborn babies to breathe more easily.

Currently, about 75 percent of the world’s helium comes from the United States. Scientists have been unsuccessful in finding a sustainable way of making the gas artificially.