Mexico City’s Foul Air is Affecting Residents’ Sense Of Smell

The 20 million people who live in Mexico’s highly polluted capital are less able than people living in nearby rural areas to distinguish smells such as coffee, orange juice, and even putrefied food, according to a new study.

Researchers from Mexico’s National Autonomous University compared the olfactory power of Mexico City residents with that of residents from nearby Tlaxcala state and found that the country dwellers could detect many smells at lower concentrations. The researchers believe that inhaling Mexico’s City’s toxic particles, in addition to causing high levels of respiratory illness, also destroys cells responsible for smell and taste. Despite recent efforts at improving air quality, Mexico City still has some of the planet’s dirtiest air; ozone levels in the city exceed recommended safety levels 300 days of the year.