Carlsbad Caverns Reopens After Experts Give All Clear

Inside the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Photo by Wing-Chi Poon/Wikipedia

Carlsbad Caverns is once again open for business after chemical vapors caused its temporary closure on Monday afternoon.

Employees complaining of headaches and other illnesses prompted the emergency closure of the visitors center and cave tours until extensive air quality testing could be performed by experts.

A team of industrial hygienists visited the cave on Wednesday morning and tested air quality with two separate sets of instruments.

After consultation with safety experts, we are confident the air quality is safe for visitors and employees. John Benjamin, Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent

The chemicals that caused the vapors were being used in the ongoing restoration project of the caves primary elevators. The project, which began in September 2010, is now focused on the installation, adjustment, and cleaning of the guide rails and brackets, which help ensure smooth, safe elevator operation.

Although there is no sign that any harm came to the cave or wildlife as a result of the air contamination, park staff will be on the lookout for any signs of impact.

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