(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo and Upendra Chivukula following reports about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning at indoor ice skating rinks was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.
The bill (A-361) would establish a carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide air quality testing and certification program for ice arenas. The program would be implemented by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning can have serious long-term consequences and can even prove fatal in some cases,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “For young people and athletes who are inhaling large quantities of air, it can prove especially dangerous. The last thing we need is to be putting children at risk of developing long-term health problems when there are easy ways to help detect carbon monoxide and avoid exposure.”
Reports have profiled the short and long-term dangers of carbon monoxide inhalation at ice skating rinks.
In one story, a 14-year-old boy ended up in the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning after competing in a hockey game. In another profile, a woman who skated from the time she was a young girl eventually ended her career with the Ice Capades after developing debilitating carbon monoxide related lung disease, neurological and memory problems.
Reuters also reported that high levels of carbon monoxide sickened more than 60 people at a youth hockey tournament in Colorado. Over the years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also reported a number of mass carbon monoxide poisonings at indoor rinks.
“Carbon monoxide detectors are a simple way to make sure the public’s health is not at risk,” said Chivukula (D-Middlesex, Somerset). “If they are required in residential rental units, then by all means, we should require them in facilities where equipment known to emit the fumes is used.”
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas created by the combustion of carbon-based fuels. Symptoms of CO poisoning can include headache, dizziness, weakness, fainting, vomiting and confusion. High levels of CO in the body can cause profound central nervous system effects, coma and death. Over time, CO exposure can cause neurological, heart, lung and brain damage.
Presently, three other states – Minnesota, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – have laws mandating that ice rinks monitor their air quality.
The measure was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.