Odour influence on well-being and health with specific focus on animal productionemissions.

Department of Agricultural Biosystems and Technology (JBT), Swedish Universityof Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 86, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden. sven.nimmermark@jbt.slu.se
Ann Agric Environ Med 2004;11(2):163–173
Odour and odorants may affect the quality of life of exposed individuals.A review of the literature on olfaction and reactions to odours was carried out with the aim of reachingan understanding of their influence on well-being and health, and to suggest possible improvements inodour environment. This review has focussed specifically on the impact of animal production emissions.Factors like emission and air movements form the physical odour levels, and individual parameters involvingpsychological and social factors determine the human response. An odour may have positive as well asnegative effects on well-being. Learning may be important for induced approach or avoidance behaviour.Common sites of irritation and injury from odorants are the respiratory organs and the nose. In mostcases, the protection system triggered by the trigeminal nerve prevents severe effects. Increased frequenciesof a number of respiratory and stress-related symptoms are found in the vicinity of animal productionfacilities. Explanations may be odour-mediated symptoms through annoyance and/or co-existing compoundslike dust and gases with synergistic effects. Besides hydrogen sulphide, a number of gases related toanimal production have hazardous properties and might be contributory elements despite their low concentrations.Important factors affecting mood, stress, and perceived health are odour levels, exposure time, sensitivity,unpleasantness, cognition and coping. Odour unpleasantness influences annoyance and might be interestingfor regulatory purposes.