According to one person testifying before a Congressional committee, BP persuaded some claimants to sign waivers concerning future claims. Of course those waivers are void per order of the US.
Also, BP ordered US workers who are helping with the clean up operation to take off their respirators so they wouldn’t suffer from heat stress. BP threatened to fire US workers who refused to take off their respirators. These US workers desperately need some income and did take off their respirators. However, without the respirators, the US workers will breath in the fumes and can eventually contract cancer, heart disease and/or lung problems.
To make matters worst, the chemicals used in dispersers are considered proprietary information and therefore a list of these chemicals is not available. Hence the medical people cannot respond to respiratory problems of US workers working for BP.
In reality the respirators can be worn and heat stress can be avoided by providing sun shade and plenty of water. But BP does little unless the EPA and Congress insist on it.
Among the things BP had been avoiding until May 20 when a government agency came down on them was reporting the results of the air quality tests over the ocean. The EPA performs air quality tests over land and reports the results of the air quality tests on their web site. BP was suppose to do the same for the air quality tests over water. For example, the benzine levels over land in some areas are very close to the maximum safe level.
The bad news is that the fish spawned in the Gulf will soon end up along the eastern seaboard. We may very well feel the effects of the water pollution and the air pollution in the distant future. Even people who do not go near the ocean may feel the effects because they still may be breathing the fumes resulting from the processes being used to disperse the oil.
BP was suppose to present a plan to MMS. That plan was suppose to detail the reaction to an oil leak and the possible dangers to people and the ecology. However, some Congressmen suspect that the demand for oil swallowed up any fears of a possible accident. BP should have been forced to present a detailed report of the effects of an oil leak. BP was also exempted from an environmental impact study.
BP obviously was not prepared and did not know how to contain this oil leak. It may harm much more than our ecology. It seems like BP engineering concentrated on production of oil but did not concentrate on technology to avoid oil leaks nor technology to clean up oil leaks.