How Can Your Hair Help to Clean Oil Spills?

The most common method of cleaning up oil spills is to use toxic chemicals and synthetic materials. However, there is now another natural and more environmentally friendly option: human hair. Your hair has specific natural properties that can actually help clean oil spills in rivers, lakes and oceans using only a few materials.

How Is Hair Used to Clean an Oil Spill?

One of the worst offshore oil spills in American history was in 2010 at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. For over 80 days, millions of gallons of crude oil flooded into the Gulf of Mexico, killing nearby marine plants and animals. The huge oil spill also affected shoreline communities and damaged surrounding neighborhoods. The methods that were used to clean that spill included expensive and dangerous chemical dispersants, oil skimmers, fires and barriers that were made of synthetic materials.

The new method of using hair, however, is the cheapest and most environmentally sustainable alternative that has been found. Human hair is hydrophobic and biosorbent, which means it repels water and can gather heavy metals, oils and other contaminants. This resource is also abundant and renewable, and it can be easily made and distributed. Hair booms are made out of pantyhose and human hair, and they can be large or very small depending on the spill.

Hair booms and hair mats are still not being used on a mainstream scale, and most federal authorities have not picked up on this new resource for larger oil spills. If you would like to know more about oil spill news, visit our website, or contact our office in Houston at Stevenson & Murray.

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