How Fragrance And Scents In The Home Can Impact Your Overall Air Quality 

We all can relate to the desire of making our space smell good. There’s a multitude of fragrance options currently on the market that can make any home smell good and fresh. However, it’s important to understand the potential dramatic impact on our home’s air quality that these scent options can have.

According to Svetlana Stevanovic’s recent research and reporting for The Conversation, people spend, on average, 85-90% of their time indoors, and inhale around 20,000 liters of air daily. Air pollutants that exist within our homes can arguably become much more harmful than the ones existing outdoors due to how much more time we spend in our houses. 

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These stagnant indoor air pollutants from seemingly harmless fragrance options can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing, and can lead to issues such as eye irritation, respiratory issues, headaches, and more. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency has also reported that levels of indoor air pollutants can get up to three times higher than outdoor pollutants. 

Home scents are made to fill a space with a particular smell that will make our air smell nice, but it also can mean that we’re intentionally releasing a mixture of chemicals in a closed indoor environment, which can lower the overall air quality in a given space. 

According to Stevanovic, air fresheners alon emit more than 100 different chemicals, some of the most harmful being classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

“These VOCs will react with ozone and other indoor oxidants to generate a range of oxidation products, which are potentially toxic molecules. The level of exposure and concentration determines the potential toxicity,” Stevanovic wrote

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The type of product and its composition determines the type and amount of pollutants being emitted into the air in your home. All air fresheners produce a high level of VOCs, and legally speaking, air freshener companies don’t have to disclose the chemical composition of their products.

There can be tens or hundreds of chemicals in your air freshener that you wouldn’t even know about because they’re not listed on the product itself. 

“In a study across the United States, Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, 32.2% of people were reported to have a sensitivity to fragrance. In those who are sensitive, fragrances are a risk factor for asthma and headaches.”

The best advice when it comes to avoiding an increased level of pollutants in the home is to use fragrances in moderation. When it comes to candles, using soy, beeswax, and any candle that’s labeled as “non-paraffin” and maintaining proper ventilation in the home throughout the day is generally considered to be safe. 

Removing chemical air fragrances, fresheners, and scented candles will have a lasting overall impact on the quality of air in your home. Overall, maintain a level of moderation when it comes to adding fragrance to your home, and consider using air purifiers in combination with ventilation to keep airflow consistent in your home. 

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing Grows in Popularity

Over the past several years, the unique sport of rock climbing has experienced a surge in popularity; according to the Climbing Business Journal, the commercial climbing industry grew at a rate of 6.9 percent in 2016, 10 percent in 2017, and 11.8 percent in 2018. This growth in popularity has inspired the opening of a number of indoor rock climbing gyms, where practitioners of the sport can climb bouldering walls, which they climb laterally a short enough distance above the ground that they don’t need to wear a safety harness, and top-roping walls, which extend several feet above the ground and require the use of a harness and a belayer to manage the safety rope. Rock climbing is an intense and exciting activity, and its recent surge in popularity is reflected in the decision to add the sport to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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The sport’s burgeoning popularity can be attributed to a number of factors. For one, the sport is a full-body exercise that builds both cardiovascular endurance and muscle mass; as such, frequent visits to the rock climbing gym can replace ordinary, less exciting workouts while maintaining the physical benefits of strength training and other forms of cardio. For people who have a fear of heights, taking up rock climbing is an excellent way to get over that fear, and the activity is sure to build confidence and courage in the face of danger. Furthermore, rock climbing is a mental activity as well as a physical one, as the process of determining how best to scale a rock wall can be compared to solving a three-dimensional puzzle in your head. Additionally, indoor rock climbing, particularly when climbing top-roping walls, is an activity that requires people to partner up, as one person needs to manage the safety equipment while the other climbs. As a result, the social pressure of knowing that your partner is relying on you to make it to the gym is useful in promoting commitment to a lasting gym routine. 

There’s no question, however, that rock climbing can be a dangerous activity.

Visiting a rock climbing gym, for this reason, is more of a social activity than visiting ordinary gyms, and relying on another person to ensure your safety when climbing provides for a bonding experience, which is particularly attractive at a time when people are feeling increasingly disconnected from one another. The shared experience of the activity and the fact that climbers take turns between scaling walls and belaying on the ground makes it easy to connect with strangers at rock climbing gyms. Also, rock climbing is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of various degrees of fitness and experience, as rock climbing gyms offer routes of varying levels of difficulty, and experts can even graduate to climbing rocks outdoors. With proper supervision, kids as young as 5 years old can enjoy the activity, as children are natural climbers. There are even people who are so dedicated to the sport that they climb mountains without using safety equipment, as documented in the critically-acclaimed “Free Solo.”

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There’s no question, however, that rock climbing can be a dangerous activity. For this reason, understanding how to properly use safety equipment is of paramount significance, as falls sustained while rock climbing can be deadly. Most, if not all, rock climbing gyms will require first-time climbers to undergo a lengthy training course, during which they learn how to properly use the belaying device, which secures the climber and prevents falls, how to tie secure knots, and how to perform safety checks before climbing. Rock climbing gyms also generally require members to sign waivers preventing the gym from being held liable in the event of an injury. However, as long as climbers understand the importance of safety and how to use equipment properly, the risk of falling or sustaining injury can be all but eliminated.

If you’re interested in pursuing the sport, all you need is a partner and access to a rock climbing gym, which can be found easily via an Internet search and are popping up in cities and towns around the world. Many rock climbing gyms also provide free weights and other exercise equipment as a perk. Generally, a membership to a rock climbing gym is more expensive than memberships to traditional gyms, but memberships generally include shoe rentals for members as well as access to all other necessary equipment. Many gyms also tend to offer lower introductory prices to entice prospective climbers to sign up. If you’re brave enough to learn how to scale walls several feet into the air, rock climbing is an endlessly rewarding and fun activity that makes a great way to destress after work or school.