You don't hear us complaining

As anyone who has lived near an oil refinery can attest, the odors it emits are rank. So you'd think everyone would be glad that when a protest reached the Environmental Protection Agency about another strong smell that has hung over a neighborhood near Chicago's Loop for 66 years , regulators stepped in to order a halt. But the reaction is just the opposite. That's because the odor comes from the Blommer Chocolate Co., which processes cocoa beans for the baking industry. "It'll start to go away as we put ... abatement equipment in place," a company official promised. Boo, replied one commuter who passes the plant each day. "I love it; who wouldn't like the smell of chocolate?" she said. Well, then, how about the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, which happens to be based in the city. "It's been shown [that] bad odors increase aggression," director Alan Hirsch said. "Pleasant ones make people more docile . So you could say the chocolate smell is a service to Chicago." Even an officer of the American Lung Association takes a dim view of the matter. "It's like crushing an ant when there's a pack of wolves around," he said, "and then claiming you've saved people from harm."

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