Don’t be fooled by the “new shower curtain smell” emitted when you buy a new plastic one. That smell is actually an indication of the toxic substances that are released, or off-gassed. Most shower curtains and curtain liners are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates and metals, all of which cause a host of problems like respiratory irritation, damage to the central nervous system, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and even worse. You also want to avoid shower curtains with anti-mildew treatment, antibacterial or antimicrobial claims. Who knows what’s been added to make these unregulated claims and you don’t want to inhale chemicals in the shower curtain!
In a study recently published by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice entitled “Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain’s Chemical Smell”, claims more than 100 chemicals are released into the air when consumers open the curtain packages. The level of total VOCs measured was over 16 times greater than the recommended guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council and Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program. Seven of the chemicals released by shower curtains are classified as hazardous air pollutants by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. The heat and humidity in the shower may make the VOC concentrations even worse.
Alternatives to toxic PVC shower curtains?
Cotton, (organic cotton is even better), duck cotton, recycled sailcloth or hemp shower curtains, are best and available on line. If you can’t find cotton ones, synthetic materials are okay as long as they are made of the more environmentally friendly EVA, PVA, nylon, polyester or microfiber. Retail giants like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond are now aware of the problem with PVC and are carrying non-PVC shower curtains and liners. I just bought an inexpensive curtain liner made from 100% EVA Vinyl produced without chlorine. So – stop inhaling toxic substances and replace your shower curtain now! You’ll be happy you did!
Some information compiled from http://healthyhomefocus.com/?p=925
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