Waste Human Hair Could Help Clean Up Oil Spills in Oceans, Say Scientists

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Your chopped-off locks could help clean up oil spills in oceans, according to scientists who suggest that human hair waste from salons may be a valuable asset to remediate maritime disasters.

Using hair to deal with oil spills is a fairly new area of research. Only a couple of studies having been conducted where the hair was either ground up or changed in some way before being used.

Several environmental groups experimented with hair booms during the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 but did not conduct scientific research.

“Hair is a natural biosorbent. It’s been shown to adsorb three to nine times its weight in oil,” said Rebecca Pagnucco, from the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.

“Your hair gets oily and greasy the oil basically is stuck to the hair fibers. By a similar method, it would stick to other oils, such as crude oil,” Pagnucco said.

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