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Bill Gates wasn’t sniffing “poop” for nothing.

As the billionaire philanthropist explains in a recent Gates Notes blog post, he recently spent time smelling an artificial scent of feces as part of a plan to help people in poor areas have an easier time using the bathroom.

In India and other poor countries, sanitation continues to be a problem – some 800,000 children under 5 die annually from diarrhea or other sanitation-related diseases.

Although pit latrines give people a place to defecate, many smell so bad that people choose to go out in the open, which creates public-health threats by allowing bacteria and disease to spread.

Bildergebnis für latrines

Gates’ solution to this problem: Partner with Firmenich, a 120-year-old perfume company, to develop an “anti-poop” scent that masks bad odors in the same way noise-cancelling headphones use wave patterns to block noise.

Essentially, the perfume acts as a high-tech Febreze, blocking the receptors in your nose that cause you perceive bad odors.

“I continue to be amazed by the innovation that’s underway in the field of sanitation,” Gates writes.

Toilets used to be a taboo subject, he explains. Now they’re subjects of mainstream research that stands to improve the lives of billions around the world.

Let us create a better future! Yours, Fran

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