Hair Donations Tangled in BP's Mixed Messages

Company says thanks, then no thanks to hair booms

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Matter of Trust
    San Francisco-based Matter of Trust has collected hundreds of thousands of hair booms intended to help clean up oil spills.

    One of the oddest news items to come out of the effort to help clean up the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico after BP's Deepwater Horizon blew up was the call for spare hair.

    Many reports have aired about volunteers and salons donating clippings that would eventually become booms to soak up the oil -- pet hair is even acceptable. But now there's confusion over those hair booms and some worry that they could go to waste.

    San Francisco-based non-profit Matter of Trust is the leading group collecting hair and creating booms. Their website calls for donations and gives plenty of ways to participate.

    Lisa Gautier, the president of Matter of Trust, said BP sent them mixed signals about the hair booms. Representatives from one part of the BP press corps told Gautier last week that they wanted the booms and all of the material they've gathered. But a few days later, Gautier says, someone from another arm of BP contacted the group and said they didn't need the hair booms and that commercial booms are more effective.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pounds of hair that Matter of Trust has helped collect are piled up in 19 warehouses along the Gulf Coast. Gautier is going to Lousianna later this week to help ensure the booms will be put to use. She will use donations to buy flotation devices from fishermen in the Gulf region to help support the booms.

    Gautier ensures those booms won't go to waste. They'll be used for years to come, in the Gulf Region and wherever else they are needed to soak up oil.

    Keep your eyes open for more on this ever-developing layer of the story.