UPDATE: Epilepsy Foundation Responds To Critics, Modifies Balloon Launch Event
UNDATED - After receiving some criticism, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota is modifying plans for their balloon release next month.
The foundation says the May 15th "Rise Above Seizures" event was intended to raise public awareness and honor the 60,000 Minnesotans who have epilepsy. But, they say it's been overshadowed by a debate between balloon manufacturers and environmental groups.
The foundation says they met with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources earlier this year, and would not have moved forward if they had raised major concerns at that time. They say they're surprised that those agencies are speaking out against the event now.
Executive Director Vicki Kopplin says "We regret that an event designed to bring awareness to our important cause has been caught in the crossfire of an environmental debate we are not qualified to enter."
Instead of a balloon launch on May 15th, the Epilepsy Foundation encourages people to get creative with their free balloons by making sculptures, or art projects with them.