War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) Paint
CARC (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating) is a paint used on military vehicles to make metal surfaces highly resistant to corrosion and penetration of chemical agents.
Gulf War Veterans who painted combat vehicles and equipment during their military service may have been exposed to CARC paint or fumes without adequate respiratory protection. Other Veterans who painted tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other motor pool equipment may also have been exposed.
CARC paint contains several chemical compounds that can be hazardous when inhaled or come in direct contact with the skin:
- Isocyanyte (HDI) – Highly irritating to skin and respiratory system. High concentrations can cause: itching and reddening of skin; burning sensation in throat and nose and watering of the eyes; and cough, shortness of breath, pain during respiration, increased sputum production, and chest tightness.
- Solvents – Inhaling high concentrations can cause coughing, shortness of breath, watery eyes, and respiratory problems, including asthma.
- Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) – High levels cause kidney damage.