Hair may be a solution.
The Hair Academy is collecting its hair clippings to send to New Orleans to be used in booms to sop up oil in the Gulf.
“Everyone was very excited, very willing to help,” said Kelli Folk, who brought the idea to her teacher. “Even our clients are excited when they hear about it.”
The salon and school sent its first batch of hair to New Orleans on Thursday.
It will send more every two weeks, co-owner of the school, Carol Bosch, said.
“With all the other disasters that have happened, with Haiti and Katrina, you feel so helpless,” said Folk, who graduates in August. “And when this came along, it felt like an opportunity to step up to the plate.”
Nylon stockings filled with hair — called booms — are placed in the water to soak up oil. The booms then can be wrung out and reused.
But how much hair is actually being used to clean up the Gulf or prevent the spread of oil is up for debate.
According to a May 24 Associated Press article, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard said they are not planning on using the hair.
Bosch said she hadn’t heard anything. She was told about a week ago the address to send the hair to may change.
An e-mail sent to particpants in the program said, “Yes, we are still accepting hair, making booms, stockpiling for parishes and counties.”
A press release from May 25 on the organization’s website said, “The question is not whether the boom will ever get used, but if responsible parties will take all clean up materials now and pay for haz waste disposal so that cash-strapped communities don’t have to pay out of pocket.”
The release said the organization is supplying official government haz mat teams with the booms following concerns that booms that are cleaned up may cause additional problems.
Lisa Craig Gautier of Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based charity that set up the program, did not return phone or e-mail messages.
The salon has collected hair for clients in the past to be used for compost or keeping animals out of gardens.