Is Your Shower Curtain Killing You?

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The Center for Health, Environment and Justice, a Virginia-based advocacy group has released the following warning about new vinyl shower curtains that might give you pause:

Vinyl shower curtains release over 100 toxic chemicals into the air in people’s bathrooms, including known carcinogens and reproductive toxins, according to a new report calling for the ban of Polyvinyl chloride in bath curtains and liners...

The laboratory tests of five new PVC shower curtains, released Thursday, found 108 different volatile organic compounds were released
into the air over a 28-day period, including off-gassing above the recommended level in the United States for seven days.

These compounds can cause respiratory irritation, headaches, nausea and damage to the liver, kidney and the central nervous system. Some VOCs are also suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Especially nasty are toluene and ethylbenzene, cited in the findings, both which are listed on California's Proposition 65 list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Yikes...one wonders while you're rinsing off the dirt, you might be inhaling something much more dangerous. This doesn't necessarily mean all plastic shower curtains contain any or all of the chemicals mentioned, but it should give some pause about what you're bringing into the home, especially if it gives off strong odours. Like a date from a bar, if it reeks, don't let it in!