By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — There is nothing at all really like taking a deep breath of the crisp, clean air proper after a snowstorm in a city. But after the snow starts to melt, you may be breathing in toxins from automobile pollution, researchers report.
“We identified that snow absorbs specific polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are organic pollutants identified to be toxic and carcinogenic,” said study author Yevgen Nazarenko, a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University in Montreal.
Study senior author Parisa Ariya mentioned, “Understanding how these pollutants interact with the atmosphere, like snow, is vital if we are to lessen the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths triggered by mild air pollution in North America.”
“Worldwide, air pollution claims as numerous as 8 million lives,” Ariya added in a university news release. She’s a professor in the department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Department of Chemistry.
When warm climate arrives, melting releases accumulated air pollutants from the snow.
“These releases could lead to a larger brief-term concentration of specific pollutants in the air, soil and surface water bodies exactly where the meltwater runs to,” Nazarenko said.
Further research and monitoring could assist recognize the most harmful air pollutants in melting snow. And their levels could be decreased by way of actions such as improved gasoline formulations and engine and exhaust technologies, the researchers mentioned.
The study was published lately in the journal Environmental Pollution.