It sounds like the stuff of fiction, but for several years it was slated to be a cold, hard, smelly fact. Research conducted in 1994 at the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, indicates that at one point, the U.S. Armed Forces were considering a "halitosis bomb," a form of non-lethal weaponry that would cause unmistakable bad breath in those exposed to it.
In a report titled "Harassing, Annoying and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals," lab researchers toyed with the idea of dispersing chemicals over insurgent hide-outs that would mark, irritate or incapacitate them.
One such non-lethal weapon that came up for discussion appears to have been a "halitosis bomb." According to the BBC, the device would release a chemical designed to give enemies a powerful, easily identified bad breath. As an added benefit, the smell would irk enemies to no end, the UK Telegraph added.
Other proposed weapons included a flatulence bomb and a pheromone-based chemical that would make insurgent troops sexually attracted to one another. The 1994 report later won an IgNobel Peace Prize for being the most misguided "peaceful" research of the year.
Today, such halitosis-causing innovations might have little effect, since oral health technology has improved dramatically over the past 15 years. Individuals with even the most persistent bad breath may almost totally alleviate it by using a specialty breath freshener as directed.