Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Mushrooms and Hair!

by , 04/29/10

CLEANING UP AN OIL SPILL WITH HAIR AND MUSHROOMS?, Cosco Busan Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair, Cleaning up oil with mushrooms and hair mats, organic cleaning of oil spill, oil spill clean up with hair and mushrooms, matter of trust, Lisa Gautier, Chronicle Story, Michael Macor Photography, photography by Michael Macor

The massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has spurred scientists and engineers to consider numerous solutions to clean up the slick — from erecting a giant underwater dome to contain the spill to setting it on fire (update: according to the Washington Post, it looks like the Coast Guard is going ahead with their plan to set the oil spill ablaze). But what if the slick could be cleaned up in a way that is totally organic? One very unusual solution calls for the use of mushrooms and hair (yes, mushrooms and hair) to absorb the oil. The technique is tried and true — it was actually used in the Cosco Busan oil spill of ’07!


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  1. dog November 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Just so cool!!

  2. Erica June 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Why don’t they set up a temporary rig to channel the gushing oil into a confined storage area until the leak can be effectively sealed. It would give the engineers more time to come up with a reliable solution and prevent any more oil from adding to the already massive spill which is doing sever damage to our environment.

  3. Gayle Canner May 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    From the Rachael Maddow blog:
    Since we’re going to be at this for a while, I think we’ve got plenty of time for a 17-minute TED talk by mycologist Paul Stamets on how Mycelium mushrooms could solve this oil mess and fix five other threats to the planet. Here is the link!

  4. Watson May 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Go to for information on how to go about donating hair to Matter of Trust.

  5. margie May 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    That’s a great idea! We could ALL get our salons to donate the daily hair from the floors to the cause if this will help. Someone give us more feedback, please?

  6. lklein May 2, 2010 at 11:26 am

    what is the best way to get hair to the spill? does the hair have to be “felted” into a mat? i’m a hairdresser and i think we could organize a way to utilize all this hair we cut off every day.

  7. Southern Mouth April 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve blogged on my political blog Daily KOS and I’ve called my Senator – Tom Coburn – to ask that they use hair to clean up the Gulf oil spill.

    I read on Google that California has an overabundance of hair on hand.

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