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Mar 11, 2016
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Why do coins (or any metal objects) leave a musty metallic smell when held? Researchers have found a surprising answer: They don't.

In a study published in Science Daily, lead researcher Dietmar Glindemann of the University of Leipzig, Germany and his colleagues discovered that metallic objects are actually odorless. The sense of smelling metal is nothing but an illusion of the mind.

"The smell of iron upon contact with skin is ironically a type of human body odor," Glindemann explained.

During the course of the study, seven participants reported metallic odor when they came in contact with metallic objects. Researchers then took gas samples from the participants' skins and found out that the odor molecules were caused by lipid peroxides, which are produced by oxidation of the oil on skin.

It simply means that the smell is actually coming from you. The odor you've always thought as metallic is actually a type of body odor produced by metals reacting with skin. It's the same with blood. The researchers said that rubbing blood, which is iron-rich, over skin also produces a similar metallic smell.


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