With the recent record snowfall that has blanketed the North Eastern U.S., I thought it was pretty darn appropriate for NPR to re-post an article about the safety of consuming snow. Rather than leave you wondering if this is going to take your childhood memories and snowy past times and burn them to the ground, I am just going to say right away, that YES, the article does conclude that by in large, it is safe to consume snow. Whew! Thank goodness, a year without nature-made snow cones sounds to me like the downward spiral of the human experience.
That being said upfront, snow isn’t just made up of pure Evian water. As it falls to the earth, it acts as a filter, pulling down all sorts of atmospheric waste with it. So, if you are like me, and thought freshly fallen snow hadn’t had a chance to hit the ground and become tainted, think again. It’s the freshly fallen stuff that still has “nitrates, sulfates, formaldehyde, or mercury.” In tiny, tiny non-toxic doses, of course, but if you don’t want to chance it, scientists recommend allowing the snow to hit the ground and rest for a few hours. Then, go out and get the fresh stuff. The longer the snow falls, the less garbage there is in the air–the first snow does a pretty good job of scrubbing the atmosphere–leaving mostly pure, unadulterated icy goodness later in the storm.
My takeaway from the whole article is exactly what my mom would have advised me years ago: “Enjoy and don’t eat the yellow snow.” It’s nice to know that some advice is timeless.
Now whip yourself up some snow cone syrup and make the best of a snowy situation!
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