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.

Greenguard School IAQ Tour

Without the proper precaution, schools can be a breeding ground for illness among the millions of children that attend each year.¬† It is perhaps with this in mind that Greenguard Environmental Institute recently launched an interactive school indoor air quality tour on its website. The tour takes place inside a graphic representation of a school with cartoon-esque teacher and student figures. There are three discussion topics: “IAQ Impacts Health”; “Maximize Fresh Air”; and “Create a Healthier School”. Clicking on each topic takes you to a screen with plus-sign markers located on different areas of the school room shown. Each marker provides a unique fact about school indoor air quality, as it relates to that particular topic. According to the information provided in the tour, indoor air pollution¬† affects the health of students in various ways: it leads to higher rates of asthma and health problems which increases absenteeism and productivity and lowers teacher retention.

Higher indoor air quality standards must be in place to ensure the success of students and teachers. The tour suggests several ways to minimize indoor air pollutants in schools, including opening windows to increase ventilation and natural light (both of which increase productivity), using air filters with the highest MERV rating available for the school’s HVAC system, and maintaining proper humidity levels. In addition to several discussion topics, the tour also features a quiz on minimizing pollutants.

Children spend the majority of their days in school, but home indoor air quality is equally important. Take our Home IAQ quiz to further ensure the safety of your indoor environment.