Compiled by Linda Platts
A small, but growing, professional opportunity for those with a keen sense of smell is rapidly developing in the Guadong Province of China. An environmental monitoring station in southern China is seeking the services of those with sharp noses who can sniff out foul gases in the air.
At present, eleven professional noses are being trained by air pollution experts in an industrial town near the Pearl River delta according to the China Daily. These experts can differentiate between hundreds of chemicals that can make people sick. Officials expect to enhance their detection skills and reduce more sources of potentially dangerous air pollution. The trainees must be able to differentiate between the smells from chemical plants, rubber factories, garbage dumps, and sewers. Eventually the trained noses will be used to complement the environmental monitoring station’s scientific equipment.
Some of the trainees report that the work is quite unpleasant as they are required to stay in a lab and practice their sniffing skills over and over. Another drawback to this potential career choice is the lack of longevity. Typically, humans’ sense of smell diminishes with age, therefore an accreditation test is required every three years in order for the professional noses to keep their jobs. There also is the unanswered question of what health impacts might be associated with a career spent sniffing out noxious and poisonous odors. All jobs have their drawbacks, but this one is probably best suited for the few and the __________ (fill in the blank).