Why Fragrance Free?
Most people understand why we want our dances to be alcohol-free and smoke-free, but question "Why fragrance-free? Do you want us to stink?"
No, of course not! But one doesn't have to wear cover-up fragrances to eliminate natural body odors, and just as second-hand smoke is irritating for many people, so are the fragrances added to thousands of personal care products.
It's a health issue
For some people the solvents, petroleum products, and even natural essential oils used in personal care products can act not only as respiratory irritants, but also as cardiac stimulants (skyrocketing blood pressure, palpitations), neurotoxins (severe headaches, tremors, mental confusion, equilibrium loss, blurred vision), and if being worn, skin irritants (rashes, itching). Exposure to products containing even small amounts of these chemicals can cause these symptoms.
Please understand that this is not a preference issue, it is a health issue. Chemical sensitivity results from continued exposure to solvents and products in doses thought to be safe. It could happen to any one of us, and if you're someone who uses scented products, you are most at risk for developing sensitivity.
And remember—we're in a dance hall. Because the hall is an enclosed space (and a relatively small space in the case of St. Andrew's), even small amounts of fragrance or scented or toxic products on a few people can add up quickly to intolerable amounts.
What to do?
We ask that, when coming to a dance, you please:
- Do not wear perfume, cologne, or aftershave.
- Do not use hair spray or dandruff shampoo — even the unscented varieties contain toxic products and can trigger reactions in chemically sensitive people.
- If possible use a fragrance-free laundry detergent and do not use fabric softener. Thoroughly air out dry-cleaned clothes and clothes that have been stored in mothballs.
- Do wear a fragrance-free deodorant! See the list below for suggestions.
A sample of fragrance-free personal products
This list is just a small sample. For a longer but still incomplete list, see this page on the site of a Canadian University (new window).
- Deodorant: Tom's of Maine Unscented, The Crystal, Le Stick, Liken, Almay Fragrance-Free, Mennen Unscented
- Shampoo & Conditioner: Pure Essentials, Jason, and other brands make fragrance-free varieties
- Hair Gel: KMS, Aloe Vera 80.
- Shaving Cream: Noxcema Fragrance-Free, Kiss My Face, English Leather Fragrance-Free
- Lip Balm: Look for beeswax-based (non-petroleum), unscented varieties (eg, Burt's Bees).
- Body Powder: Use baking soda and/or cornstarch.
Let's all pay attention to this important area because we are all ultimately susceptible to our increasingly toxic modern environment. For more information visit www.nofragrance.org — and thank you!