Backyard Chats

Shower Curtains
August 7, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Health

Most households today utilize both a shower curtain and a shower curtain liner. Unfortunately, most plastic curtains and liners are constructed primarily from PVC. The noxious smell emitting from brand new ones should be the first indicator of a problem. Getting rid of the old ones, is another problem since recycling is not an option.

Here are just a few of the many articles which claim startling health concerns:

Healthy Building News: A new analysis conducted by two independent laboratories finds that 6 hours after opening a common vinyl shower curtain, it would load a typical bathroom with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over 16 times the guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program, and would continue to violate these guidelines for another week.
This new study, Volatile Vinyl – The New Shower Curtain’s Chemical Smell, found one new PVC shower curtain can release into the air over 100 different VOCs — chemicals that can cause cancer; damage the liver and central nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems. The US EPA classifies seven of the chemicals released as hazardous air pollutants.
Absence of chlorine alone does not make these other vinyls the final answer in the search for green polymers. There are still plenty of toxic challenges and untested chemicals in the life cycle of any petrochemical product.

Treehuggers: Regular vinyl shower curtains release chemical gases and odors from their ingredients and are manufactured with non-renewable and chemical resources. They are difficult to clean and end up in a landfill where they don’t decompose and could release dangerous substances into the ground.

Today: Most shower curtains are made from plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Ever notice the strong odors coming from a brand new shower curtain or liner? Those odors are chemicals out-gassing from the plastic, and some of the chemicals can be toxic. Since PVC is one of the most common materials used in plastic shower curtains, vinyl chloride is a common toxin released.The effects of vinyl chloride range from irritation of the eyes, ears, and throat, to respiratory irritation to neurological effects. Vinyl chloride is a suspected human carcinogen.Purchase shower curtains and liners made from cotton (ideally unbleached, organic), linen, or hemp. It is true these are much more expensive than the plastic curtains and liners, but hemp, for instance, is naturally mildew-resistant, durable, and will last a very long time.


1 Comment so far
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Scary stuff

Comment by Steph

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