EPA’s odour list helps you identify an odour – for example, odour from animals, chemicals, burning or cooking. 

When you report odour to EPA, use this list to describe it. 

It helps us if your odour report is as detailed as possible. This is so we can respond quickly and effectively.

Describe the odour you can smell

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Cooking

  • nutty/grain
  • fried/oily/fatty
  • coffee (burnt or roast)
  • meaty (cooked or burnt)

Hydrocarbon/fuel

  • gas (mercaptan)
  • petrol
  • bitumen/tar
  • diesel

Vegetable origin

  • compost/mulch (fresh)
  • garlic/onion
  • yeast/fermented
  • cabbage (dimethyl sulphide
  • seaweed

Chemical/solvent

  • alcohol/medicinal
  • paint thinners/spray paint (acetone)
  • sour/acidic
  • metallic/foundry (phenols)
  • sweet (esters)

Animal origin

  • tannery/skin & hides
  • urine (uric acid/ammonia)
  • manure (faeces)
  • fishy (amines)
  • livestock
  • chicken/poultry
  • rendering

Rotting/putrid

  • garbage/rubbish
  • rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide)
  • organic/compost (decayed)
  • sewage/septic
  • milk or dairy (rancid)
  • dead animal meat (rotten)

Burnt/smoky

  • rubber
  • plastic
  • feathers/hair
  • wood/woodsmoke
  • waste/landfill

Read more about odour

About odour

Odour: the law

Odour: EPA's role

Reviewed 16 March 2020