You've been needing a haircut. Now is the best time to get one because your hair can absorb oil from the Gulf of Mexico.
Human hair clippings (often donated by salons) have been woven into mats, stuffed into nylon stockings, and placed upon the Gulf of Mexico thanks to an enterprising green nonprofit group called Matter of Trust.
This idea of human-hair-as-an-oil-sponge started back in 1989 with a man named Phillip McCrory. Seeing rescue workers try to clean the fur off sea otters during the Exxon-Valdez oil spill inspired McCrory to try the idea with human hair. Using his son's kiddie pool, a pair of nylon stockings, five pounds of hair, and some oil, he discovered that the hair soaked up every bit of oil in the pool.
This idea was later expanded on by NASA and has been acknowledged as a means of cleanup technology by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
When used in large numbers, these mats have been shown to be extremely absorbent. During the 2006 oil spill in the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard appealed for hair, which has been shown to be highly effective at soaking up oil.
Human hair is biodegradable; therefore, it is one of the safest cleaning solutions to an oil spill. Aside from human hair, dog hair and feathers have been used.
Some may argue that the hair might be dirty or unclean for use in the Gulf. Rest assured, the hair is shampooed before weaving into mats. This gives it maximum absorbing ability.
Whether or not these hair mats will be the primary source of cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico has yet to be determined.Powered by Sidelines