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Am J Public Health. 1998 Dec;88(12):1781-6.

Determinants of nitrogen dioxide concentrations in indoor ice skating rinks.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass. 02115, USA.



The combination of poor ventilation and fuel-powered ice resurfacers has resulted in elevated nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in many indoor ice skating rinks. This study examined the factors influencing concentrations and the effects of various engineering controls in ice rinks with different resurfacer fuels.


Indoor NO2 concentrations were measured in 19 enclosed ice skating rinks over 3 winters by means of passive samplers, with 1-week average measurements during the first winter pilot study and single-day working-hour measurements in the final 2 winters. Personal exposures to drivers also were assessed during the last winter.


Rinks in which propane-fueled resurfacers were used had a daily mean indoor NO2 concentration of 206 ppb, compared with 132 ppb for gasoline-fueled and 37 ppb for electric-powered resurfacers. Engineering controls, such as increased ventilation and resurfacer tuning, reduced NO2 concentrations by 65% on average, but outcomes varied widely, and concentrations increased in subsequent months.


Electric ice resurfacers, increased ventilation, or emission control systems are recommended to protect the health of workers and patrons, with surveillance programs proposed to track implementation and maintain an observer effect.

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