Air Pollutants Identified As Carlsbad Caverns National Park Reopens

Last week we wrote a post about the Carlsbad Caverns National Park closing due to toxic fumes making employees sick. The park has since been reopened and the offending air pollutants have been identified.

The overwhelming odors were the result of a corrosion resistant coating and solvent utilized as part of an elevator renovation project. A park spokesperson has said that the products used were an immersion-grade epoxy (used either as a corrosion resistant primer or an intermediary product) and the solvent methyl-ethyl-ketone, also known as Butanone.

  • Butanone, while no longer classified as an hazardous air pollutant, is still treated as a volatile organic compound due to its ground level ozone emissions. It is an irritant to eyes and throat and flammable.
  • Immersion-grade-epoxy is also flammable, an irritant, can be harmful if inhaled and contain silica.

Both of these products emit toxic fumes and in an enclosed, underground, project such as this they can surely be dangerous to humans if inhaled, and deadly if a spark had ignited the fumes. And in this case, the danger was further exacerbated by using two separate and distinct products, each of which posed health hazards.

While using EonCoat would not have eliminated the fumes emanating from the solvent, used as the corrosion resistant primer or topcoat EonCoat would have eliminated VOCs and thus the fumes, from the coating. And since EonCoat has no flashpoint, it cannot ignite, even with a direct flame, reducing the dangers of an underground fire or explosion.