Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Threatens Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

New ice resurfacers are powered electrically and do not pose a threat.

The EPA provides strict indoor air quality guidelines for recreational arenas, including ice skating rinks, but unfortunately, not everyone follows them. One writer recently noted that carbon monoxide poisoning is a potential threat for people who visit ice skating rinks that use fuel-fired ice resurfacers and edgers. New machines are electrically powered and do not pose a threat, but there are some indoor ice rinks that use machines fueled with diesel, propane or gasoline.

In addition to carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter also pose health risks. Parents should be aware of the signs of poisoning from air pollution if their children frequent these arenas, namely shortness of breath, mild headaches and nausea. These symptoms often mimic flu symptoms, and may be mistaken as such.

Good health starts with indoor air quality. If your children don’t frequent these arenas, it is still important to make sure the air in your own home is clean and safe to breathe. Check out our series, “Filters for Kids,” to learn more about ways to ensure your kids stay healthy with quality furnace filters and air purifiers. And since your children likely spend most of their time at school, it’s important to know what their school is doing to create a healthy environment as well.

Fortunately, we are in the winter season. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to take advantage of an outdoor ice skating arena in your area, while there is still time.

Fight Obesity with Cleaner Air

Air Pollution Linked to ObesityA recent study by Ohio State researchers has concluded that air pollution may be one of the causes of obesity. A few months ago, we wrote about the link between soot and diabetes; Since obesity often leads to diabetes, this finding comes as no surprise.

The study found that young mice exposed to air pollution had higher blood sugar levels, larger fat cells, and more fat cells in their abdominal area than a control group of young mice on the same diet, who were not exposed to air pollution. Inflammation and changes in fat cells both increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Even more frightening is the finding that air pollution may also increase the risk of autism…

At first glance, the results of this study seem to discount personal responsibility as a factor. After all, we can try to eat healthy and exercise, but if air pollution turns out to be the main culprit, then in the end, there’s not much we can do, right?


The majority of Americans spend most of their time indoors. Protecting the air you breathe starts in the home and office environments. You can help fight obesity by eating healthy, exercising, and changing your AC filters regularly. Make sure you use high-efficiency furnace filters to capture those really small particles circulating through your HVAC system. The best place to buy air filters? Why, Filters Fast, of course. 😉

American Lung Association State of the Air 2010

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  For some of you this is an understatement.  You may be thinking, “Well, of course it is.  I was well aware of asthma and allergies when I walked outside this morning, saw what I thought was my car covered in a thick yellow mist, and began sneezing fifteen times in a row.”

It’s easy to be aware of something when the majority of the United States population is suffering because of it.  Many people attribute this suffering to pollen, but pollen doesn’t deserve all of the credit.  Automobile emissions and coal-fired power plants are among some of the largest contributors to particle and ozone pollution.  The State of the Air 2010, recently published by the American Lung Association, found that despite great progress, over half of U.S. residents live in cities where the air is unsafe to breathe.

The ALA’s State of the Air 2010 ranks cities in three categories for 2006, 2007 and 2008: ozone air pollution, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution.  Among the most polluted cities in all three categories are Bakersfield and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.  Fargo, N.D. and Lincoln, Neb. ranked among the cleanest cities in all three categories.  Use the “Report Card” on the left hand side of the State of the Air website to determine your area’s ranking.

Environmental air pollution causes many health problems, and long term exposure can significantly decrease life expectancy, not to mention, quality of life, as many of us have witnessed in the midst of countless sneezing fits.  According to the ALA, people who work or exercise outside are at a greater risk.  However, indoor air pollution is also a threat to your health, as you may recall from one of our older posts.  The ALA lists several things you can do to reduce air pollution outdoors, but don’t forget to take steps to improve the indoor air quality of your home and office buildings, as well, with a high quality air filter.