The bizarre, chemical aromas that develop are variable, from none to quite strong. Many factors play in: fridge temperature, the variety of pepper, how long was it stored. Again, I’ve only experienced this with red bell peppers. But, since new varieties are being developed all the time, it’s best not to store them in the fridge.
Seems the best way for storage is to wrap bell peppers in newspaper . I Mark them with a letter, so the color is known. Then, they’re put in a cardboard box which has just a small opening. The peppers breathe slowly and tend to shrivel, rather than rot over time.
Many nightshade plants get off flavors in cold storage. Potatoes, kept for awhile in a fridge or cold temperatures, will taste strange and get sweet. Put back at room temperature, they’ll revert back to normal-tasting. Refrigerated tomatoes change flavor over time, too.
shrinkrap, mothballs are normally naphthalene and pdb (para-dichlorobenzene). I doubt these chemicals form in red bell peppers, stored cold! It’s probable that our human receptors interpret these off smells differently and our brains make associations with things we are familiar with. The sense of smell is quite variable in humans.
When I worked at Monticello, managing the Center for Historic Plants’ horticultural operations, giving tours was routine. When given Parma Violets to smell, many people couldn’t smell a thing. To me and others, there was a very sweet floral smell, which is one reason they were grown.
During my time as Horticulturist at Barboursville Vineyards, I noticed an awful, sewage-like smell coming from a Narcissus bed. It turned out to be the cultivar of flower! I couldn’t imagine a breeder keeping such a thing, so did a little experiment: I cut a vase full of the flowers and brought them around to a lot of people. Many did not notice the sewage odor and liked the smell. Others said the odor was awful. Having bad odors outside a tasting room for wine is not cool. When I asked my boss if I could remove them, he said yes “…they smell like someone who doesn’t know how to bathe correctly”.
So, it’s worth keeping in mind how we all interpret smells and tastes differently when we discuss these senses.