Contaminants in Icicles & Snow January 07 2014, 0 Comments

toxic icicles and snowBitter cold and heavy snowfall has affected many parts of the United States.  As temperatures rise, our children will be headed out into that white fluffy stuff, building snowmen, having snowball fights, and unfortunately, some of them will be eating a snowball or two and licking icicles.
Snow is beautiful, pristine and white, and the icicle looks crystal clear and sparkly, but they are far from being clean and safe to eat. These beautiful and delicious looking winter wonders can be packed full of pollutants.

How snow is formed

Snow is basically frozen water vapor (rain). When enough water is available in the atmosphere, and temperature become low enough, it snows. As water condenses and freezes, it can pick up tiny particles from the atmosphere like dust, dirt. pollution and even bacteria.

Rural Areas Don't Have Safer Snow

Some people might think that snow is safer in rural areas than in cities with air pollution.  Since pollution and particles are being carried through the atmosphere, while snow is being formed it is picking up those particles from a polluted city and circulating to other places like your rural backyard.
The Canadian Safety Council analyzed 20 samples of snow from around the world and found high levels of bacteria in all the samples. Basically, you might as well let your kids eat dirt, as these samples indicated that your child would be exposed to the same amount of bacteria.

Icicles are plenty gross and dirty

Icicles may look pretty and are mighty tempting to kids.  After all, they look like giant popcicles.  Aside from being extremely dangerous, keep in mind that what has been on your roof like bird excrement, what your shingles are made of, and debris could become part of that giant sparkly icicle.  Icicles on older houses may contain contaminants like lead.

It probably wouldn't hurt if your child caught a couple of snowflakes on their tongue, or took a bite or two out of a snowball.  But, they definitely shouldn't make a meal out of snow!