USM researcher developing response kit for oil spills - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

USM researcher developing response kit for oil spills

JACKSON, MS (AP) - A researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi is developing a two-step response kit for oil rigs and marine vessels to keep on board in case of an oil spill.

Dr. Robert Lochhead has developed many of the polymers found in consumer goods, such as conditioning shampoos.

He turned to another household item, laundry detergent, for the inspiration for a new, naturally based polymer. He says it has proven to be effective but must undergo environmental safety tests.

He says the polymer not only disperses oil, making it degrade faster, but it also keeps oil from sticking to natural materials -- such as bird feathers, grasses and sand.

Less far along in development is the first step in his two-part kit: a mile-long, reusable polymer sheet to soak up oil.

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