Braley Calls for Iowa Law Requiring Air Monitoring at Ice Rinks PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:26

Recent media reports have drawn attention to instances of dangerous air quality, lack of standards 

 

Des Moines, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) joined concerned parents and their children today on the steps of the Iowa state capitol to call on the state of Iowa to pass a law requiring indoor ice rinks to install air monitoring equipment to alert patrons to the presence of unhealthy levels of dangerous fumes, like carbon monoxide.

 

Recent media reports have drawn attention to numerous instances across the country of children getting sick after being exposed to dangerous levels of noxious gasses like carbon monoxide.  Just last fall in Iowa, several Des Moines-area children were hospitalized after being exposed to carbon monoxide at a local ice rink.

 

“Smoke detectors are required in Iowa homes and carbon monoxide detectors are almost as common,” Braley said.  “Yet there is no requirement for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in ice rinks where levels of toxic fumes can reach dangerous levels.

 

“It shouldn’t take people getting sick and children going to the hospital to realize there’s a dangerous situation at hand.  Air monitoring detectors should be standard equipment in Iowa ice rinks.  It’s an inexpensive, common sense way to keep our kids safe and give parents peace of mind.”

 

Only three states regulate air quality at indoor ice rinks – Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.  Iowa has no indoor ice arena air monitoring requirement.

 

Data on the number of children hospitalized because of dangerous gasses at indoor ice rinks is hard to find because there is no national reporting requirement.  However, an April 2009 ESPN report found that in the previous six months, nearly 200 people had been sickened by carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, or other harmful emissions at indoor ice arenas.

 

Braley has visited several ice rinks across eastern Iowa to learn more about steps being taken to safeguard children, including rinks in Davenport, Dubuque, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids.

 

In addition to the event at the state capitol today, Braley has sent a letter to state legislative leaders and the Iowa governor requesting action on the issue.  Full text of the letter follows; a copy of the letter can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/UDU

 

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February 23, 2012

 

The Honorable Terry Branstad

Governor of Iowa

State Capitol

1007 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50319

 

The Honorable Michael E. Gronstal                      

Majority Leader                        

Iowa Senate                        

Second Floor, State Capitol                       

Des Moines, IA 50319                         

 

The Honorable Jerry Behn

Minority Leader

Iowa Senate

Second Floor, State Capitol

Des Moines, IA 50319

The Honorable Kraig Paulsen                       

Speaker                       

Iowa House of Representatives               

Second Floor, State Capitol                       

Des Moines, IA 50319                         

 

The Honorable Kevin M. McCarthy

Minority Leader

Iowa House of Representatives

Second Floor, State Capitol

Des Moines, IA 50319

 

 

Dear Governor Branstad, Majority Leader Gronstal, Minority Leader Behn, Speaker Paulsen, and Minority Leader McCarthy,

 

I am writing today to urge you to enact legislation requiring the installation of air quality monitoring devices in Iowa’s indoor ice arenas.  Recent news reports have shown numerous instances around the country of children getting sick as a result of poor air quality in indoor arenas. Just last year, young hockey players in Urbandale, IA were sent to the hospital as a result of poor air quality in the rink where they were practicing.

 

At the height of hockey season, we must work to ensure the safety of these facilities. Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with ice rink managers, children and families in Waterloo, Davenport, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids to discuss the issue of ice rink safety.  In every place, I’ve seen managers working to ensure the safety of their facility, and I have faith that they have the best interests of their customers in mind. However, with no state guidelines, air quality monitoring and safety is inconsistent across the state as a whole.

 

I urge you to work together to enact legislation requiring monitoring of air quality in indoor ice rinks to reassure Iowa families that the facilities where they go for recreation are safe. Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have enacted similar laws to ensure the safety of these facilities in their states. We have a responsibility to Iowa families to assure the safety of our children.

 

I appreciate your consideration of this request, and thank you for your continued work on behalf of Iowans.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

 

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