Pulmonary function decay in women ice hockey players: is there a relationship to ice rink air quality?

Inhal Toxicol. 2004 Mar;16(3):117-23. doi: 10.1080/08958370490270918.


Fossil-fueled ice rink resurfacing machines emit high levels of ultrafine and fine particulate matter (PM(1)) and may be related to asthmalike symptoms in skaters. We examined PM(1) exposure and airway status in elite women ice hockey players over 4 training years. Lung function, asthma symptoms, and rink PM(1) were evaluated. Pre- and postexercise spirometry was performed on 14 female hockey players and 9 female control nordic skiers 4 times over 4 yr. Baseline lung functions were normalized to height cubed (Ht(3)) and recalculated to subject mean height (1.69 m) to evaluate change. Venue CO, NO(2), and PM(1) were measured. Training history for hockey players included 2 yr in a low-[PM(1)] rink, followed by transition to high-[PM(1)] fossil fuel machine resurfaced rinks; [PM(1)] for control ski venue was low. [CO] and [NO(2)] were acceptable at all venues. Controls showed no baseline function change over 4 yr. For hockey players, 1997 lung function values at the low-[PM(1)] venue were significantly higher than 2001 high-[PM(1)] venue values (p <.05); decay per year between 1997 and 2001 was greater for FEF(25-75) (251 +/- 185, 83 +/- 40, 109 +/- 58, 109 +/- 187 ml yr(-1), mean +/- SD for FEF(25-75), FVC, FEV1, PEF, respectively; p <.05). No relationships between baseline lung functions and airway hyperresponsiveness or symptoms were identified. Five of 9 controls had symptoms, and 10 of 14 subjects had symptoms. This preliminary study suggests [PM(1)] is related to airway function decay in ice rink athletes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / chemically induced*
  • Bronchial Spasm / chemically induced*
  • Environmental Illness / etiology
  • Female
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Hockey*
  • Humans
  • Particle Size
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Vehicle Emissions