Bad odor events usually signal the presence of hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other dangerous gases. Keeping track of them and investigating their origin is important for health and safety. This page collects resources to keep track of bad odor events for further investigating their origin and their potential effects on people.
"The most accessible and sophisticated environmental monitoring equipment is made available to most humans in the forms of noses, eyes, tongues, ears and skin." --Sara Sage
Odor Log 1.0
You can use the Odor Log 1.0 to keep track of the events just using paper, pen and your nose. Use these steps as guidance:
- Download a printable log
- Coordinate with some neighbours to simultaneously track the bad odor events in different points of your neighbourhood/town.
- Decide the length of the monitoring. Take at least a 2 week long record if the events are on a daily basis. If events are for example, once a week, consider taking a longer log.
- Note on the log every day even if there's no bad odor event.
- Take a picture of every page of your log pages or scan them.
- Then send the files with the results to your local authorities, perhaps with carbon copies to some newspapers and the EPA or the environmental authority in your state or country. Doing this, a record of your public complaint will be kept in several entities and mail servers.
Using the Odor Log 1.0 you can go from an undefined "there are lots of bad odor events in my area" to a documented "we've counted xxxx number of bad odor events located in A, B, C, and D places"...
Online Odor Log 1.0
Based on the Odor Log 1.0 you can follow the same protocol (coordinate - decide - monitor) using the Online Odor Log v1.0 developed using the Free Open Source software Ushahidi for real time reporting, and share bad odor events in your area.
Visit the map and explore collected data at odorlog.com
Adding a launcher to your phone
You can also create an Android or iOS launcher for your mobile phone. Just visit the survey url and bookmark it using Chrome or Safari. Click on "add to home screen" or " create launcher". You'll get a new launcher on your phone so you'll be able to report an event in your area just with one click.
Documents and manuals about odor detection, identification and monitoring can be found on many sites on the web. Please feel free to add your findings.
- Community assesment of environmental odors, by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
- Citizen Collected Evidence Information Packet, by the Bureau of Air Quality Control of the City of Houston.
- Standardized odor measurement practices for air quality testing, by Charles M. McGinley.
- The smell report, an overview of facts and findings, by Kate Fox, Director of the Social Issues Research Centre.
- Odor pollution in the environment and the detection instrumentation, by Arief Sabdo Yuwono.
- Odor thresholds for hazardous air pollutants, by the Environmental Protection Agency
- Overview of odor measurement techniques, by M. Susan Brewer and Keith R. Cadwallader, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Illinois.
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