These are unwanted odors that can exist in our environments from several sources including:
- Industry: oil refineries, landfills, incinerators, wastewater treatment plants, paper mills, dry cleaners, port activity, melting smelting and scrap yards
- Nature: fires, moist soil, stagnant ponds
- Vehicles: diesel exhaust and other types of exhaust
- Animals: Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’S), manure
Photograph credit: Fred R. Conrad/The Guardian
Researchers and government officials are beginning to use tools called Olfactometers to more accurately measure odors in communities.
One example olfactometer is the "Nasalranger" displayed in the image to right.
Olfactometers are used in conjunction with your nose to scientifically measure how intense an odor in a standardized way.
Environmental justice communities such as Camden, NJ are frequently home to a variety of industrial sources of smells that can sometimes interfere with individuals health or wellbeing.
While not all industrial odors are immediately harmful to your lungs or organs, there can be psychological or social effects from even non-toxic odors.
The figure above is from a recent study that measured odor pollution in the Waterfront South Neighborhood in Camden, NJ.
Figure 3. Example of odor data collected at each randomly selected sampling site in the Waterfront South neighborhood in Camden, NJ.
Link to the full study: Kitson J, Leiva M, Christman Z, Dalton P. Evaluating Urban Odor with Field Olfactometry in Camden, NJ. Urban Science. 2019 Sep;3(3):93. https://www.mdpi.com/2413-8851/3/3/93/pdf
Developed resources reported in this project are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.