Scroll Top


Legislation Prompted By Recent Reports of Mass Carbon Monoxide Poisonings

In light of recent reports about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning at indoor ice skating rinks, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo is introducing legislation that would require these facilities to install carbon monoxide detection systems. The fumes are caused by fuel-powered ice maintenance machines and can prove especially noxious in rinks with little or no ventilation.

“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.”

Caputo also said he is exploring the viability of requiring electric-powered ice maintenance equipment to help eliminate the emission of carbon monoxide all together.

A report this week on the Today Show 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.

Earlier this week, Reuters also reported that high levels of carbon monoxide sickened more than sixty 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,” added Caputo. “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. Caputo hopes to introduce his bill the next time the Assembly is in session on February 17.