Gulf oil spill: Hair boom effort is cut short


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After a technical evaluation, BP announced Friday that it would not use hair booms in oil spill cleanup efforts.

Matter of Trust, an environmental nonprofit, was leading the effort to collect hair from dog groomers and salons across the nation.


Two weeks ago, more than 450,000 pounds of hair were en route to more than 15 locations in the South including warehouses, extra mall spaces and garages. Dog groomers and hair salons have continuously joined the effort.

The suggestion was submitted as an alternative method for containing the oil spill, but it was not feasible, according to the command center for the spill.

In a February side-by-side field test conducted during an oil spill in Texas, commercial sorbent booms absorbed more oil and less water than hair booms.

“Our priority when cleaning up an oil spill is to find the most efficient and expedient way to remove the oil from the affected area while causing no additional damage. One problem with the hair boom is that it became water-logged and sank within a short period of time,” Charlie Henry, scientific support coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Robert, La., said in a statement. He called on individuals and organizations to discontinue the collection of hair for hair booms.

It is not known what will become of the hair. Matter of Trust did not return requests for comment Friday evening.

---Nicole Santa Cruz, reporting from Los Angeles