Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Industrial Hygiene


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Sally Bardsley

First Advisor

Julie Hart

Second Advisor

Beverly Hartline


Hockey has grown in popularity in the United States substantially in the last fifty years. The combustion engine has primarily been utilized to power the ice resurfacing equipment to make the ice smooth and able to support the next activity. The exhaust from the combustion engine creates a source of CO that could be harmful to the bystanders if the exhaust is not ventilated from the area properly. Many studies have investigated CO concentrations in ice rinks, but few have evaluated carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels as a biological indicator of CO exposure, in order to evaluate the potential health effects of CO exposure to volunteers and participants during hockey games.

This study evaluated twelve volunteers and users of the Butte Community Ice Center (BCIC) to determine if they were exposed to levels of CO exceeding established Occupational Safety and Health Administration exposure limits, and whether the levels of carboxyhemoglobin in the participant’s blood were high enough to cause adverse health effects. Over a 3 day period, area CO concentrations were measured using a multi-gas monitor, and a non-invasive pulseoximeter for measuring the COHb percent in the blood. Thirty-two area CO (ppm) measurements were taken from two locations. During the same period ninety-two COHb (% COHb) measurements were collected from study participants.

Statistical analysis using Minitab’s Two Sample t-test compared concentrations of CO on-ice and off-ice air concentrations and pre- and post-activity % COHb in the blood to determine if study participants were overexposed to CO. In addition, a correlation analysis was performed to determine if there was a correlation between airborne CO concentration and % COHb in the blood. The study determined that CO concentrations exceeded recommended airborne exposure limits; and %COHb exceeded 10% COHb, the level indicated by literature to cause adverse health effects. Analysis revealed a positive correlation between post activity airborne CO concentrations and post activity %COHb blood concentrations. It is recommended that this facility evaluate engineering and administrative controls to reduce the risk of CO over exposure within the BCIC.


thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Industrial Hygiene