NEW YORK — “Don’t eat the yellow snow,” so you’ve been told — but a new study says don’t eat snow, ever.
Scientists tested how air pollution caused by car exhausts affects snow. The study, published in “Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts,” shows that snow absorbs these pollutants.
The study mixed toxins commonly found in car exhausts, which include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, into a environment-controlled chamber containing snow. After one hour, the snow soaked up a large amount of the toxins, making it hazardous to eat.
The study focused on snow in urban environments, such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston, where there are a high number of vehicles in a concentrated area.
Though the findings were first published in December, they are especially applicable now with a Nor’easter brewing and threatening to dump inches of snow on the tri-state this weekend, after an unseasonably warm start to the winter.
Pollution can cause a series of health issues including heart disease and cancer, according to health officials.
In 2014, air pollution was named the world’s largest single environmental health risk by the World Health Organization.
A new report is expected to be released next month showing that air pollution has worsened since 2014, The Guardian reported.