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Mycoremidiation and the BP Oil Spill

NewsletterPLUSThis came in from club member Leah Faerstein:

We signed up to, a group that collects mostly hair and fur to make booms to protect the beaches from oil. From one of their updates, I found these paragraphs:

First, mats made from human hair, invented by hair stylist Phil McCrory  of <>  after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, were used by  surfers and concerned citizens to clean up San Francisco's Ocean Beach in  November of 2007. Next, Paul Stamets of <http://www.fungicom>  donated Oyster mushroom  spawn which shoots out millions of roots, clinging to the mesh of oil-soaked  hairmats, helping to break down the hydrocarbon bonds in oil to hopefully turn the toxic  waste into landscape-grade fertilizer. The natural process is called “mycoremediation."

And also:

The Oily-Hairmat-Eating Mushroom Project at the Presidio is headed up by  Lisa Craig Gautier, founder of, an ecological public charity.  “The amazing support and media excitement for this project has been  inspiring". The applications of this organic method has world wide  potential for environmental restoration. “People are attracted to  it because everyone understands oily hair and can track photos on  showing how  the remediation research is working away on bunker fuel and used motor oil,  a worse polluter of our oceans." Says Gautier. A wide range of agencies  and organizations have come together to collaborate and advise on this project,  including the Presidio Trust, the California Department of Toxic Substances  and Control, the San Francisco Departments of the Environment, Emergency  Services and Public Health, SF Mycological Society, St. Vincent de Paul  Society and The East Bay Depot For Creative Reuse.

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