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The balloon launch sponsored each year as part of National Science Week may be discontinued because of protests from a marine-life specialist in New Jersey who claims the balloons are harmful to an endangered species of sea turtles.

The director of the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education, which has sponsored the event since it began in 1985, said that the group would try to develop balloons made out of biodegradable materials. But if that cannot be done, said John M. Fowler, "we will not do the launch in this fashion next year.''

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