Liquid helium has an extremely low boiling point — minus 452.1 degrees Fahrenheit, close to absolute zero — which makes it a perfect substance for cooling the superconducting magnets found in MRI machines. Hospitals are generally the first in line for helium, so the shortage isn’t affecting them yet. But prices for hospital-grade helium may continue to go up, leading to higher health-care costs or, in the worst-case scenario, the need for a backup plan for cooling MRI machines.
(MORE: Why the World’s Quickly Running Out of Helium)
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