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Contact: Paula Bauer
Carlsbad Caverns National Park visitor center and cave tours will reopen today at noon following extensive air quality testing by industrial hygienists. The temporary closure began Monday afternoon as a precaution after it was discovered that vapors from chemicals used by contractors renovating the park's elevators had seeped into the park's visitor center.
"Three industrial hygienists toured the building this morning, and tested air quality with two separate sets of instruments," said Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent John Benjamin. "With their precise test results and after consultation with safety experts, we are confident the air quality is safe for visitors and employees." The health and safety of visitors and employees is critical, and reopening facilities depended on concerns being mitigated.
The chemicals that were the source of the vapors were being used as part of a complex project renovating the primary elevators. This phase of the project involves the installation, adjustment, and cleaning of the guide rails and brackets, which ensure smooth, safe elevator operation. Some employees reported being affected by the vapors and sought medical care, were treated and released. At this time we don't believe there was any harm to the cave resources or wildlife; park staff are looking for any impacts.
For more information about recreational activities in the park and natural and cultural resources, visit the park's website: www.nps.gov/cave or call 575-785-2232. For the time of the evening bat flight program, call 575-785-3012.