Carbon monoxide in indoor ice skating rinks: evaluation of absorption by adult hockey players

Am J Public Health. 1990 May;80(5):594-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.5.594.


We evaluated alveolar carbon monoxide (CO) levels of 122 male, adult hockey players active in recreational leagues of the Quebec City region (Canada), before and after 10 weekly 90-minute games in 10 different rinks. We also determined exposure by quantifying the average CO level in the rink during the games. Other variables documented included age, pulmonary function, aerobic capacity, and smoking status. Environmental concentrations varied from 1.6 to 131.5 parts per million (ppm). We examined the absorption/exposure relationship using a simple linear regression model. In low CO exposure levels, physical exercise lowered the alveolar CO concentration. However, we noted that for each 10 ppm of CO in the ambient air, the players had adsorbed enough CO to raise their carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels by 1 percent. This relationship was true both for smokers and non-smokers. We suggest that an average environmental concentration of 20 ppm of CO for the duration of a hockey game (90 minutes) should be reference limit not to be exceeded in indoor skating rinks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis*
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis
  • Hockey*
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quebec
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking


  • Air Pollutants
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobin