Odor Screen is a new product being marketed by Patus, Ltd. that claims to mask the foul stench of death so that workers immersed in such scenarios can breath a little easier, as it were. In their own words, Odor Screen “Provides Innovative Safeguard Against Offensive Odors Protects Emergency, Medical and Military Personnel from Exposure to Debilitating and Traumatic Odors Helps Promote Mental Health and Well-Being."
A Vaseline compound laced with some “natural ingredients” that alters the “perception of burnt flesh, decomposing flesh, infected wounds, vomit and other offensive bodily fluids or tissues. The goo comes in little packets, and is spread under the nostrils as needed. Patus claims that the vanilla scent is calming, and that it will only mask the perception of “offensive odors originating from the body and dose (sic) not effect the entire odor spectrum,” allowing workers to detect other smells that might be important to doing their jobs.
Their site, www.odorscreen.com, does not get into the brain chemistry that makes this technology possible, but does cite information from certified smellologists on the importance of olfactory perception in coping with tense or dangerous situations.
This seems like a good, if not macabre, idea. Though it is a grim reminder of our nature as fragile meat popsicles, Odor Screen looks like it might be a real boon to some of our harder-working friends in the life-saving business. Not being employed in a profession that would require me to create, repair or clean up human viscera, I can only offer a lay opinion on what I would rather smell. I’m going with ice cream.
Based on the tried-and-true model of car air-fresheners, but practically placed in the nose, I don’t see how this could not work to some degree, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Patus’ claim of selectively removing human-derived odors from the olfactory spectrum was overstated.
Also, Patus is an Israeli company, which is, sadly, not terribly surprising.
Thanks to bOING-bOING for the tip.