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What are the olfactory chemicals in whiteboard/permanent markers and what do they bind to in the nose, lungs, and brain?

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Anyway... here is one relevant paper on human olfactory receptors. –  user132 Dec 16 '11 at 7:31
    
here's another paper that might shed light on the second part of your question... ploscompbiol.org/article/… –  Dr.Dredel Dec 16 '11 at 8:12
    
personally i find ethanol and its closest homologs smell 'sweet' –  www0z0k Dec 16 '11 at 14:03
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The smell of dry erase markers come from the chemicals ethanol, butanol and isopropyl alcohol. Like all chemicals inhaled through the nose, they bind to the Receptor neurons in the located in the back of the nose. The neurons interpret the chemicals using a 'lock-and-key' model but the specific way its coded and perceived in humans is still being researched and the process is not completely understood.

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