UPDATED: see below
Somehow I managed to miss this story on NPR, but it’s not terribly surprising. Around these parts, the drag ladies have always got your back:
Workers in the Gulf of Mexico are using oil containment booms to sop up oil and protect coastlines from the approaching slick.
Commercial booms are usually made of plastic. But an alternative source for the booms is found on the floor of salons across the country.
As it turns out, hair adheres to oil pretty efficiently, which is why your hair gets greasy. Now salons are donating their discarded locks to help with the Gulf Coast cleanup.
A group in San Francisco has been producing hair booms for nearly a decade now. Matter of Trust makes nylon stockings stuffed with human hair and trimmed animal fur.
“Booms will lie along the beach, the waves will come up, and they’ll go through the hair and the nylon,” says Lisa Gautier, co-founder of Matter of Trust. “And the hair will grab the oil and then the wave goes back out and it’s cleaner.”
Gautier says the BP spill is by far the biggest challenge she’s encountered, so her organization is directing its current stockpile of hair — 400,000 pounds — toward the cleanup.
While the group does have lots of hair, Gautier notes, there is one shortage. “I knew that hair wouldn’t be a problem, but nobody wears nylons anymore,” she says.
Well, some people still do. Gautier says the great thing about being based in San Francisco is the city’s transvestite community, which has readily donated nylons. The group has also received donations from Wal-Mart and Hanes.
UPDATE: Apparently, all those nylons will be for naught. Oh well: it’s the thought that counts, girls.