Snow: Not for Eating

It’s not just yellow snow you shouldn’t eat. It’s all snow.

According to scientists from McGill University in Canada, snow that falls in urban areas can absorb toxic and carcinogenic pollutants from vehicle exhaust.

The icy makeup of snowflakes, it turns out, makes for an efficient remover (absorber) of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene found in car exhaust. Because of this, researchers from McGill concluded that the interaction been snow, freezing temperatures and the exhaust could present a public health threat. Snow and ice should also be included in climate change conversations related to vehicle emissions and greenhouse gases (if ice and snow aren’t part of the equation, exhaust emission level evaluations are incomplete).

You can read the full report in the December-published journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impact.

Something to consider this weekend when it may or may not snow in Philadelphia.

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