As we’ve all noticed, winter is outstaying its welcome this season in Canada. Which means we have more time than usual to think about some important questions, like if snow is safe for our families to eat?
Snow falls from the sky, so if the air is not clean, then the snow absorbs the pollutants floating in the atmosphere. The most common examples are remnants of soot from coal-fueled plants and wood stoves.
It’s safest to wait a few hours after the snow stops falling, because snow clears the air as it falls. The longer that it falls, the cleaner that the air and fresh snow become. However, even for the first flakes, the contaminants are never toxic enough to cause harm.
However, there are other factors that could contaminate snow. For example, snow could get mixed with the soil blowing around a few meters from the ground. And fallen snow could pick up sand and chemicals from snowplows. Ultimately, it’s safer to eat snow from rural areas versus urban.
There are a lot of dangers to keep an eye out for. But if your batch of snow passes the cleanness test, then feel free to enjoy that first handful!