"The lungs eliminate a lot of poisons, which wasn't known until recently," continues the doc. "They found out that there's all these enzymes in the lungs that are detoxifying various volatile chemicals. So you're not just excreting carbon dioxide, but you're also excreting all sorts of other stuff that's volatile."
The breath can be thought of as a road map to poor health. For instance, a fruity odor means the person could be diabetic. Another odor is associated with bad strep throat. According to the doc, a "shit-smelling" odor can imply that someone is impacted, and we're not talking about a tooth.
"I've seen a lot of really old people who come in with what they call acute abdomens. You know, they haven't shit in seven days, they're dropping their blood pressure, and they got a hard rock in their pelvis. They have real bad breath."
But we're discussing our own district attorney here!
"He may have bad health for a variety of reasons," says the doc flatly. "He may have polyps or colitis, or just eat really bad food and hardly ever take a dump."
Our conversation is getting far off the subject. The problem is clear -- the city has a district attorney who makes headlines and reportedly also has a breath problem, which is probably a result of poor health. To remedy this affliction means to improve the health and well-being of Terence Hallinan. Does the doc have any suggestions?
"If he went to one of those really expensive health spas in the desert, and he ate good food and had exercise, and some cleansing of various types, and had his teeth looked into, the guy would definitely not smell so bad."