Aah, snow! Although I can totally understand the hate it gets, I can’t help but associate it with childhood memories, so it’s
difficult not to be glad every time it snows. And I’m sure that it’s same for quite a lot of our readers. One of the most common things you heard in my youth when it started snowing was not to eat the yellow snow. According to a study from Canada, eating white snow just as bad as eating yellow snow.
- The research was published in the Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts journal on December 21st
- The study was performed in Canada and led by McGill University’s Dr. Parisa Ariya
- According to the findings, snow absorbs a large quantity of pollutants
- One in eight worldwide deaths is caused by air pollution
It’s nice to hear that the study comes from Canada, given some Canadians’ tradition of eating maple syrup off the snow with a popsicle stick, but the results are worrying nonetheless.
The team of researchers found that there in fact might be no such thing as clean or safe snow, especially not in urban environments.
This is because snow was found to absorb a very large part of the city’s pollutants as it falls, rendering it full of carcinogenic chemicals and other health risks.
By putting snow and exhaust fumes in a chamber, the team found out that in as little time as an hour, the snow managed to purify the room of a large part of the chemicals from the exhaust fumes.
This rendered the white powdery snow full of chemicals such as benzenes, ethylbenzenes, toluenes, and xylenes, all of them presenting serious safety hazards if ingested.
Apparently, this process is caused by the fact that snow is colder than its surrounding air, especially than the toxic fumes around it, thus removing the aerosols and absorbing the pollutants.
However, this raises more questions than it answers – not that the answer isn’t useful – because the team didn’t manage to find out what happens to the pollutants after the snow melts.
It would most likely lead to temporarily increased pollution levels in the snowy area once the snow melts due to the melting and evaporating snow.
Multiple teams have become quite interested in the subject after the publication of the article, including teams from Finland and Switzerland.
These teams are going to perform more in-depth studies on the matter in order to find out more about the strange phenomenon.