Friday, June 18, 2010

Don't Send Hair for Oil Booms: BP Won't Use Them

I learned reading GreenLAgirl's post, "How to Snap Out of Gulf Oil Spill-Induced Depression" that BP has nixed using the oil booms made from human and animal hair collected by eager volunteers. It will use petroleum based synthetic boom instead, reported the Good blog on June 5.

I missed that news, and according to the press release, this decision was made May 21. The release says field tests were conducted and the hair boom didn't work as well as the synthetic boom.
The Unified Area Command for the Deepwater Horizon/BP Response announces it will not use hair boom in its response efforts.

While this suggestion was submitted to BP as an alternative method for containing and recovering the oil spill, it was not deemed feasible after a technical evaluation.

In a February 2010 side-by-side field test conducted during an oil spill in Texas, commercial sorbent boom absorbed more oil and much less water than hair boom, making it the better operational choice.

“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,” said Charlie Henry, NOAA’s Scientific Support Coordinator in Robert, La.

Commercial sorbent boom is readily available and scientifically designed and tested for oil containment and absorption on the water. Additionally, response teams are familiar with and properly trained to safely deploy, maintain, recover, and dispose commercial sorbent boom.

Individuals and organizations are asked to discontinue the collection of hair for the hair boom.

We appreciate the overwhelming response from the American and Canadian people who want to help in the response to this spill. Please continue to send suggestions for alternate cleanup solutions. All proposals are reviewed by technical experts for their feasibility and proof of application. Among those recommendations submitted was the successful subsea dispersion process that is now helping break up oil before it reaches the surface.

We encourage the public to continue volunteering to help with this response. People interested in volunteering can call 866-448-5816.
While I'm a little bummed because the hair collection was one of the few ways people could feel directly involved with helping to stop the oil from reaching beaches, wetlands, and more wildlife, which is why I wrote two posts about Matters of Trust collecting the hair stuffed oil boom, I realize if the hair boom did not work as well as the synthetic stuff, then it shouldn't be used. However, I'm not convinced oil booms of any kind will work well given the amount of oil that's under the surface in plumes.


msladyDeborah said...

There are people who got their hair cut specifically to donate to help the clean up effort.

Vérité Parlant said...

I hope nobody gave their last strands. :-) Every now and then hair doesn't grow back.

It's a shame they couldn't use it b/c I think a lot of people felt it was the one tangible heart thing they could do (besides sending money to wildlife rescue and fishermen funds) if they couldn't go clean up personally.

Reggie said...

BP really shit the bed this time didn't they?!?