Melting Snow Contains a Toxic Cocktail of Pollutants

With the temperature getting warmer due to spring, all the snow will slowly melt. However, wexhaust-pipe.jpgater is not the only thing the melted snow will release. The snow contains a toxic cocktail from car emissions. These pollutants are then released int o the atmosphere after the snow melts.

Snow absorbs certain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are organic pollutants known to be toxic and carcinogenic. These pollutants add to premature deaths caused by mild air pollution. Worldwide, air pollution kills as many as 8 million lives. The snow is on the ground for so long that the car emissions pollute it, and then it releases straight into the environment. Understanding how these pollutants interact with the environment, including snow, is import to reduce the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in North America.


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