Air pollution can exist anywhere, even at the hockey rink. Figure skaters, hockey players, arena workers and countless spectators who sit in the stands and look on – and breathe in – are all potentially at risk.
The causes of ice rink-specific indoor air pollution are manifold. Proper ventilation is key; failure to expel poor quality air and draw in clean, fresh air is an obvious source. But other factors can contribute, as well. High temperatures and humidity (from heat-sourced equipment) have the ability to increase pollutant levels, as do gases and particles released into the air by normal activity. But the most insidious source, because it is often undetectable, is exhaust emissions from fuel-fired ice resurfacers. The burning of fuels such as diesel, propane or gasoline release combustion pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Trapped in an enclosed space, such as an ice arena, these gases pose a distinct threat to those inside its walls. USA Hockey Magazine weighed in on the subject, adding that anything that burns fossil fuels – heaters, boilers, forklifts and generators – can add to the problem.
So, what’s an ice rink owner to do to protect those inside the arena? The EPA recommends focusing on four things: Ventilation. Air circulation. Source control. Using equipment that meets EPA emission standards.
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