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How that ‘old book smell’ could save priceless artifacts (video)

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Credit: The American Chemical Society

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2016 — Odor-detecting devices like Breathalyzers have been used for years to determine blood-alcohol levels in drunk drivers. Now, researchers are using a similar method to sniff out the rate of decay in historic art and artifacts. By tracking the chemicals in "old book smell" and similar odors, conservators can react quickly to preserve priceless art and artifacts at the first signs of decay. In this Speaking of Chemistry, Sarah Everts explains how cultural-heritage science uses the chemistry of odors to save books, vintage jewelry and even early Legos. Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/UYvaqwXANwg.

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