Saturday, March 17, 2007

Does Ice Hockey Kill? - particulate pollution and lung disease

Linking sports and environmental economics is never easy but the following story makes for interesting reading from The Airzone Blog (original source links included).

Possible Health Risk In Canadian Hockey Arenas Due to Particulate

According to CBC News, a recent investigation of Canadian hockey arenas shows a high level of ultra-fine particulate pollution which could contribute to asthma and some cardiovascular illnesses. Several recent studies show that exposure to ultra-fine particles can easily be lodged in the lunges leading to lung cancer and heart disease.

The CBC tested 42 arenas throughout Canada. 24% were at levels that could decrease lung capacity. 14% tested at high levels similar to standing next to the busiest highway in the Canada.

The high levels of particle pollution are being attributed to emissions from ice resurfacing machines routinely used to smooth the ice surface.

Kenneth Rundell who runs the human performance lab at Marywood University in Scranton, PA says, “We found ice-rink athletes, all the skating athletes, the figure skaters, the short track speed skaters and the hockey players had a higher prevalence of exercise induced asthma…and their lung function was chronically low.

Proposed solutions for decreasing the level of ultra-fine particulate in arena air include better ventilation and changing ice resurfacing machines to electric rather than running on fossil-fuels.

More a more pertinent "sports-environmental economics" story see:
Env-Econ Blog.

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