Fumes force closure of student center

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A smell described as being similar to Band-Aids caused the closure of the Park Student Center early yesterday and sent two employees to see physicians.

One of the employees is an expectant mother, the other has an allergy condition sensitive to smells. The employees are presumably doing fine, said Mike Low, interim director of the Student Union.

The Park Student Center is an annex of the Student Union at North Park Avenue and East Fourth Street.

Herb Wagner, Occupational/Fire Officer with Risk Management, said the smell was caused by a compound used on steam lines in the tunnels underneath campus.

Several employees complained of a dry throat, dizziness and headaches. "The symptoms were consistent with exposure to (the compound)," Wagner said.

Risk management aired out the building yesterday and it remained


closed the entire day in order to complete the work. The center will reopen today.

Facilities Management staff have been applying the compound p-cresol between gaskets on steam lines, over the past several weeks, Wagner said. The compound solidifies when the steam line heats up and produces an odor similar to that of a "Band Aid."

P-cresol is an organic compound from the creosote bush, Wagner said. Creosote is the desert plant that gives off "that sweet smell" when it rains in Tucson.

Wagner said the odor threshold in the Park Student Center was well below the ordinary level that caused the symptoms complained of by the employees.

All of the stores at Park Student Center will be giving a 10 percent discount today. "We're kind of calling it a grand re-opening," said Low.

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