Dancing in Clean Air: Our Fragrance-free Policy

The Seattle English country dances are advertised as "fragrance free". This is because about 15% of the general population and about 20% of our English country dance community have adverse health effects from perfume and solvents, and become ill from even small amounts of fragrance products. Reported adverse health effects from perfume range from migraine headaches and asthma attacks to cardiac and neurological symptoms, including permanent brain damage. This is not a preference issue -- it is a serious health issue for a significant number of people.

Please refrain from wearing scented versions of the following products to dances:











hair gel

hand lotion

hair spray

In addition to these products, consider that even your ball attire has the potential to cause problems to other dancers, especially if it has been stored in mothballs, if it has been recently dry-cleaned, or if you have worn it with cologne on a previous occasion.

Safe products include:


Tom's of Maine deodorant, or the crystal Le Stick

& conditioner

Pure Essentials, Organic Essence, Magic Botanicals

Hair gel

make your own from Knox plain gelatin, Aloe Vero 80

Shaving cream

Kiss My Face

Laundry soap

Country Save, Ecover

Hand & body

Grannies, Trader Joe’s Fragrance Free, Alba Botanicals Fragrance Free

Avoid those that are cold-cream based


(some of the brands listed above make fragranced products also -- be sure to check the label)

In addition, hair-spray, fabric softeners and dandruff shampoos (whether scented of not) can trigger reactions in chemically sensitive people because of toxic contents.

Start reading the label!

Products called "unscented" may in fact contain fragrances! So, look at the list of ingredients and choose products labelled "fragrance-free" instead. In general, it is helpful to avoid anything with "fragrance" in the list of ingredients. "Fragrance-free' is safer than "natural" fragrances, many of which may contain toxic chemicals as preservatives.

By helping us to stay healthy, you may be healthier too

Because of the large number of people on the dance floor, even small amounts of scent on each person add up quickly to intolerable amounts. Those of us with asthma and chemical sensitivities can only attend if you help by wearing fragrance-free products. Someone who is healthy this year may be tipped over the edge into illness by small accumulations of fragrance, solvents and other chemicals in doses thought to be safe. By changing to safe products, you can help insure that this doesn't happen to you!