: Is smelling books unhealthy?


As a book nerd, I love to take a whiff out of my books every now and then. Old, new, yellow, grey I don’t mind.

I just looked up to discover that book smell is caused by chemicals called toluene or ethylbenzene, which smell sweet, benzaldehyde or furfural.

Now, what I wonder is whether my weird olfactory habit could be harmful. Is it unhealthy? Are any of those chemicals bad?

In: 0

No! They’re all harmless VOCs that you commonly find in a ton of food and drink. I would, however, recommend you resist the urge to do this in public, for fear of being arrested as an absolute lunatic.

The old book smell is partly [vanillin](https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/that-old-book-smell-is-a-mix-of-grass-and-vanilla-710038/), I have never heard that it’s those other chemicals you are mentioning. It’s very pleasant and perfectly safe. What’s yiur source?