Is It Safe To Eat Snow?
Catching snowflakes on your tongue is part of growing up for many in parts of the world where it snows during winter months. Some (like me in my youth) even do things like take a bite out of a snowball for fun. Is this really safe to do? The folks at Popular Science wondered the same thing and reached out to someone that would know.
Obviously we know yellow snow is a no-go; but that pure, white, fresh-fallen snow can't be more than just frozen water, right? Not exactly. Anne Nolin, a professor at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University told Popular Science that snow is formed as water collects around particles of dust or pollen in the air. While these are "impurities", Nolin says we breathe these same particles in every day and they are harmless. Even with the particles, falling snow is just as pure as most drinking water in most cases.
Once snow is on the ground, other things like dust or pollutants can make the snow dirty and less safe. Moving past the obvious yellow or brown snow; Nolin also cautions that pink "watermelon snow" can actually be the most dangerous. The color is caused by algae that can make you sick.