Your Hair Is Not Enough to Combat Major Oil Spill

Bob Ross.jpg
Bob Ross can help you paint. But his trademark 'fro won't abate the Gulf Coast oil spill.
According to some San Francisco non-profit called Matter of Trust, donating your hair can help clean up one of the worst oil spills in United States history. The Huffington Post, and plenty of other news media outlets, have recently run straight-faced stories on this "innovative solution."

Please don't shave yourselves yet, people.

Because it seemed slightly absurd that our hair might be an answer to an oil spill of this magnitude -- an estimated 210,000 gallons a day are leaking into the Gulf of Mexico -- we called our favorite bioremediation expert: Terry Hazen, the head of the ecology department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Sure enough, the idea that hair can make a dent in the Deep Water Horizon clean-up cracked Hazen up.

Hair poster.jpg

"This hair thing sounds really, really amusing," he said. "If you shaved everybody in the United States, there wouldn't be enough hair to cover this oil spill."

It's not that hair doesn't work at all, he said. In fact, after the Cosco Busan spill, Paul Stamets demonstrated that in limited ways, hair (and mushrooms) can be effective. But "it can't be applied to a catastrophe of this size," Hazen said.

It's not surprising that a San Francisco non-profit is pushing the idea, he added, still laughing.
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