Enclosed Sports Arenas
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regulates air quality in
Minnesota's indoor ice arenas and motorsports sports arenas. Each arena is required to be certified by MDH and those with internal combustion engines need to monitor and document carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the arenas.
Minnesota was the first state to pass rules to protect individuals from exposures to exhaust emissions that can occur in ice arenas. Minnesota promulgated an ice arena rule in 1973 after carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emitted from a resurfacing machine caused illness in spectators and hockey players. In 1977, the rule was amended to regulate all enclosed sports arenas when any type of internal combustion engine is in use. In 2013, the rule was revised and expanded to better protect public health.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas often formed in the process of incomplete combustion of organic substances, including fuels. It is dangerous because it interferes with normal oxygen uptake for humans and other living organisms needing oxygen to live. Arenas are required to keep acceptable concentrations of carbon monoxide in their arenas at all times they are open to the public.
Nitrogen dioxide is a highly reactive oxidant and corrosive gas. It is formed as a by-product of combustion. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and lower resistance to respiratory infections. People with existing respiratory illness such as asthma are at increased risk for these health effects. Arenas are required to keep acceptable concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in their arenas at all times they are open to the public.
Owners and operators of indoor ice arenas and motorsports sports arenas must follow Minnesota Rule, Chapter 4620, parts 4620.3900 to 4620.5950. The rule requires that facilities be certified by the Minnesota Department of Health and that air quality is maintained in these arenas as demonstrated routine weekly air monitoring and reporting.
Air quality continues to be a concern in indoor ice arenas and motorsports sports arenas. With continued focus on keeping the air safe in arenas, we can ensure that people using these facilities will be able to enjoy sports in a safe, indoor environment.