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MOBILE, Ala. -- Almost two months after an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, shortages of government-required protective gear and cleaning equipment are slowing work to remove the oil and keep beaches along the coast safe.

BP says it s doing all it can to keep supplies stocked. But with demand so high for everything from plastic gloves, to oil-blocking booms and sand-sifting machines finding enough items to outfit workers and protect the coast has become an unending task.

Coast Guard Lt. Erik Halvorson, a spokesman for the unified area command overseeing the spill response, says shortages haven t caused any major slowdowns in the cleanup. He says large orders have been placed in advance when needs are anticipated.

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