BP's Gulf spill fuels boom in oil booms


The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has pushed demand for containment booms and the parts that go into them — including plastics — well beyond supply.

How much demand? Existing production of the 6-inch polyethylene foam logs, used for flotation devices in the booms, is already spoken for, so companies are developing new technologies and using alternatives. Like pool noodles.

“They’re creating their own rounds by rolling smaller-diameter foams,” said John Waddington, corporate field engineer with UFP Technologies Inc.’s United Foam unit....
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