General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Is my sniffer broken from CS gas exposure?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9102 points ) December 7th, 2011

Ever since my basic training CS gas experiences many years ago, I’ve noticed that certain smells ALL smell like CS gas.

Especially certain perfumes, and lots of times new products, and the like.

I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience.

The fact that many of these smells have the same exact smell as CS gas made me wonder if part of my olfactory system was damaged in a way that it responds to everything like it is CS gas.

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5 Answers

SmashTheState's avatar

It’s more likely that you experience “smellblindness” to certain chemicals. For example, I’m smellblind to whatever it is that makes skunk, body odour, and CS gas smell unpleasant, since none of these are unpleasant to me: skunk smells similar to gasoline, body odour smells similar to watermelon or cantaloupe, and tear gas smells like a cross between apples and Pine Sol. Many people are smellblind to different things and never realize it. I know for a fact, just from asking people, that there are many people like me, who don’t find the smell of skunk overly awful.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@SmashTheState the smell I perceive is awful, but I think you’re onto something, there.

Nullo's avatar

I have had something of a similar experience with chicken. I cannot smell the rotisserie chickens that I cook unless they smell underdone or burnt; a result, no doubt, of overexposure. It’s just as well, those things smell really good, and I’d hate to be stuck with them all day like that. I expect the ol’ nose to shape up after I change my job.

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Ron_C's avatar

I got chemical pneumonia from a chlorine lead in a paper-mill. It took a couple months for my sense of smell to return to operating status.

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