Carbon monoxide poisoning can strike at some pretty surprising places, and Minnesota aims to do something about that. The state has introduced a bill that mandates that ice rinks install gear to check levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, hazardous gases that Zambonis emit.

The deadly gases sometimes build up to unsafe levels in ice arenas when ice resurfacers, such as Zambonis, have a fuel-burning engine that’s not maintained correctly. That’s an especially dangerous condition at ice rinks, because skaters are often breathing deeply, therefore taking in a large quantities of whatever fumes are around them.

Under the proposed bill, rinks would have to install electronic air-monitoring equipment. Those devices would have to sound an alarm when the concentration of carbon monoxide was at 12.5 million parts per million or more, and when nitrogen oxide hit 0.3 parts per million. Then those devices would trigger exhaust fans.

Right now under Minnesota law ice arena officials must tell the state when carbon monoxide is more than 30 parts per million or nitrogen oxide exceeds 0.5 parts per million.

The proposed legislation was written by Rep. Rick Hansen, who cited an incident where a hockey team from Morris, Minn., got ill from carbon monoxide exposure. One of his constituents, a figure skating instructor, also suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Only three states – Minnesota, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – have laws mandating that ice rinks monitor their air quality.

Internal combustion engines and the great indoors don’t mix. It is good to see that the recognition of that is increasing.

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