Michael Spiegel has owned a shop in Brooklyn for 30 years, selling balloons and other party favors.

But in the last 12 months he says the cost of helium has blown up, more than doubling.

"People keep on telling me it is going to go higher," said Spiegel.

That is because of the global helium shortage.

The natural gas is not pulled from the air but is extracted from the Earth.

Much of it coming from mines in Texas, the result of uranium decaying.

Because of the worsening shortage, businesses like Speigel's are charging more for helium tanks and balloons.

"I have lost customers that can't do it because it is just too much," added Spiegel.

Speigel's website documents each time he's had to raise prices.

The National chain Party City has a special page on its website recommending alternatives to helium balloons.

Rising costs of helium is affecting not only party supply stores but also those in the medical industry.

Roughly 20 percent of the world's helium is used in medical equipment, like MRI machines.

"In order to make strong magnetic fields you need to use materials that can only work at very, very low temperatures, and helium is the perfect coolant," explained Alexej Jerschow a chemistry professor at NYU.

With supply low and demand high, it’s costing hospitals and clinics more to operate MRI machinery, leaving the potential for higher charges to insurers and patients.

Jerschov hopes the shortage encourages people to use helium more wisely.

But no one is sure when or if the shortage will end.