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Chinese meteorologists have brought about Beijing's earliest snowfall in a decade, after seeding rain clouds with silver iodide to ease a drought.
Impact on environment and health With an NFPA 704 rating of Blue 2, silver iodide can cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury (e.g., chloroform) to humans and mammals with intense or continued but not chronic exposure. However, there have been several detailed ecological studies that showed negligible environmental and health impacts.. The toxicity of silver and silver compounds (from silver iodide) was shown to be of low order in some studies. These findings likely result from the minute amounts of silver generated by cloud seeding, which are 100 times less than industry emissions into the atmosphere in many parts of the world, or individual exposure from tooth fillings. Accumulations in the soil, vegetation, and surface runoff have not been large enough to measure above natural background. A 1995 environmental assessment in the Sierra Nevada of California and a 2004 independent panel of experts (an overview only is presented in the executive summary of the research) in Australia confirmed these earlier findings. Cloud seeding over Kosciuszko National Park - a Biosphere Reserve - is problematic in that several rapid changes of environmental legislation were made to enable the "trial." Environmentalists are concerned about the uptake of elemental silver in a highly sensitive environment affecting the pygmy possum amongst other species as well as recent high level algal blooms in once pristine glacial lakes. The ABC program Earthbeat on 17 July 2004 heard that not every cloud has a silver lining where concerns for the health of the pygmy possums was raised. Research 50 years ago and analysis by the former Snowy Mountains Authority led to the cessation of the cloud seeding program in the 1950s with non-definitive results. Formerly, cloud seeding was rejected in Australia on environmental grounds because of concerns about the protected species, the pygmy possum. Since silver iodide and not elemental silver is the cloud seeding material, the claims of negative environmental impact are disputed by peer-reviewed research as summarized by the international weather modification association.