What kinds of chemicals are in the oil dispersant and how will they affect animal species in the Gulf?



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    Many of the chemicals in oil dispersants are kept secret from the public, and the effects of these chemicals on sea life is largely unknown. However, Corexit EC9527A, which was one of the dispersants first recommended for the spill, is known to contain 2-Butoxyethanol, organic sulfonic acid salt, and propylene glycol. 2-Butoxyethanol harms red blood cells, kidneys and the liver, according to its material safety data sheet. A newer version of this dispersant, Corexit 9500, doesn’t include the 2-Butoxyethanol. However, dispersed oil in general has been toxic to fish species and their eggs, and the older Corexit 9527 hurts the life cycle of corals. Dispersants have been found to accelerate the death rate of corals and hinder digestion and respiration in sea turtles.

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