Public Health: Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Indoor Ice Arenas
- Ron Dobos (_)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- September 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 38 - 43
- 2012. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 32 since 2007
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Carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposures often recur among recreational ice arena users. This article primarily focuses on CO exposures, since much of the research for indoor ice arenas has been done on it and the health effects are more pronounced.
Although more than one source of CO and NO2 may exist or be present inside ice arenas, the most common source of these contaminants is the exhaust from com-bustion of fossil fuels (e.g., gasoline, propane, diesel) in ice resurfacing and edging machine engines. Exposure to high concentrations of CO and NO2, particularly among children during exercise, can lead to acute and chronic illness (Pelham, Holt & Moss, 2002). Since the 1970s, results of epidemiological, environ-mental and clinical investigations involving adverse health effects from poor indoor air quality in indoor ice rinks have been published (Pelham, et al.).
"The first recorded episode of illness among children skating in a Minnesota ice arena occurred in 1966 when girls aged 7 to 11 developed headaches and nausea while figure skating" (Minnesota Dept. of Health, 2012). As recently as December 2011, 23 children were treated and four hospitalized following CO exposure in a Florida ice arena (Zimmer, 2011).
Despite the attention received by public exposures to CO, the population that is perhaps most at risk for recurring exposures and acute and cumulative health effects are ice rink employees, especially ice resurfacing machine operators. Ice resurfacing machine operators’ exposures (Table 1) can range from 21 to more than 200 ppm (averaged over a 5-minute period). The average exposure during resurfacing was 73 ppm (Ander-son, 1971; Lofgren, 2002).
In 1984, Colorado’s Pitkin County Health Department measured CO in an indoor ice rink and achieved an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) concentration of 53.8 ppm and a 1-hour read-ing of 80.5 ppm. NIOSH investigators analyzed the exhaled air of eight rink workers in the Pitkin County rink and results indicated carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels of 5.7%. Even though exposure limits are based on maintaining COHb levels between 2% and 3.5%, none of the workers registered any health complaints (CDC, 1986).
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