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.

Coating Fumes Shut Down Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico was forced to evacuate and shut down this week (July 23, 2012) due to overwhelming coating fumes contaminating the air. Both the visitor’s center and the cave itself were closed after employees became ill and many complained of headaches.

For those who work in the coating industry, the dangers of coating fumes are a well-known hazard.  These dangers increase tremendously when working in poorly ventilated areas, as was the case in New Mexico. As it happens, the fumes from the coating were heavier than the air itself, so they didn’t simply travel “up and out” as was likely expected. They lingered down below in the shaft for days.

Use EonCoat – Eliminate VOCs and the Dangers of Toxic Fumes

Unlike typical coatings, EonCoat does not release any VOCs into the air, so there are no worries of nausea or headaches. Even in enclosed areas, tanks and vessels, or underground, EonCoat can be sprayed without concern for toxic exposure. Additionally, once dry, EonCoat can even be grinded or sanded without releasing toxic fumes, and it has no flash point so it cannot ignite.

Contractors and businesses working in these conditions now have a safe alternative to existing coatings. As an added benefit, EonCoat also provides better corrosion resistance than other industrial coatings on the market.

Given the importance of worker safety, and the realities of insurance, workers compensation and cost of disposing of hazardous materials, it’s no wonder that EonCoat has received such glowing reviews from testers and customers alike since it was brought to market in 2011.

Learn more about the environmental advantages, and benefits of using EonCoat.

EonCoat Coating Offers Safety in Confined Spaces

Nearly all coatings have two very serious health hazards for use in confined spaces, toxic fumes and flash point.

Flash Point in confined spaces becomes a non-issue as EonCoat is completely non-flammable and cannot ignite

Flash point is the temperature at which the vapor from a volatile material can ignite in air. In practice this means that in a confined space, when spraying a coating with a flash point lower than the temperature in the space, the vapors can ignite and explode if someone strikes an arc. It is astonishing how many protective coatings have a flash point lower than the typical temperatures seen in a tank. Contractors go to great lengths to recirculate air to keep the concentrations of vapor low. They ban smoking and equipment that might cause a spark, but the work is inherently dangerous. EonCoat vapors cannot be ignited no matter what the temperature is and no matter what spark occurs (even a direct flame) because the coating is completely non-flammable.

Zero Toxicity means no more headaches and no danger of succumbing to fumes

The other issue is toxicity. All of us who have worked within confined spaces for a time, have known at least one person who had to be pulled from a tank or other confined space because of toxic vapor inhalation. We do everything we can to prevent it. We blow fresh air through the tank. We sniff the tank before we enter. We stand a watch outside the tank every second someone is in a confined space. We talk about it at safety meetings. We make people wear a full respirator. Yet it happens – people are overcome by fumes. EonCoat is a huge step in the right direction. It has zero toxicity. While it is always appropriate to have fresh air flowing anytime someone is working in a confined space, with EonCoat you don’t have to worry that someone you are responsible for is in danger from toxic fumes.

A contractor working with EonCoat put all this in perspective for me last week when he said “I don’t go home with a headache anymore.”

For more information about confined space safety visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/shipyard/shiprepair/painting/index_paint.html