RALEIGH, N.C. — Hair salons nationwide are sweeping up clippings, stuffing them in boxes and sending them to the Gulf Coast to help sop up oil.

But the officials overseeing the massive crude cleanup say they aren’t using any hair. It is all apparently just being stored in warehouses in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.

Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based charity, has been leading the effort in recent weeks to collect human and pet hair from barbers and groomers by the tons. The hair is stuffed in tubes of women’s hosiery, creating “booms” that soak up oil, the charity says. Hair collects oil from your scalp, so why not crude oil, too?

But hair booms are not being used in the cleanup of the exploded BP oil rig, according to Heath Seng, who is with the U.S. Coast Guard, on Wednesday.

Mark Proegler, a spokesman for BP who is at the cleanup site, said crews are using only “regular, absorbent plastic booms.”

Even Matter of Trust’s website acknowledged earlier this week, “At this time BP is not soliciting or accepting (hair) donations.”


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