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Vinyl Shower Curtains Contain Potentially Toxic Chemicals

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 4:32 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Air Pollution, Cancer, Endocrine Disruptors, Toxic Substances, Safe Home 101


PVC can be identified by the recycle symbol 3.

Part of IBs - SAFE HOME 101 Series in June- Home Safety Month 



IMAGE SOURCE:  Wikimedia Commons/ recycle symbol/ author: Tomia


Before you purchase the vibrant dragonfly shower curtain that matches your beautiful new bathroom towels, you might want to shop for a PVC-free variety of shower curtain over a vinyl one. 

Vinyl shower curtains may contain potentially dangerous chemicals, according to a recent study by the nonprofit environmental group, The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ).

Researchers tested typical shower curtains purchased from five popular retailers, including Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Sears, and found that all of them contained high concentrations of chemicals associated with cancer and other health problems.

CHEJ measured the amount of volatile organic chemicals that were released by the curtains, made from polyvinyl chloride (PCV) plastic, at 16 times greater than the guidelines for indoor air quality.

The study determined that 108 volatile chemicals were found in the shower curtains and some of the compounds lingered in the air for nearly a month.

The chemicals in question are linked to developmental problems that can cause kidney and liver damage, headaches, nervous system disorders, and a host of other medical problems.

The good news is you can buy PVC-free shower curtains. Retailers including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Sears, and others have plans to phase out PVC curtains while increasing their line of PVC-free curtains.

Consumers should avoid purchasing PVC curtains and instead buy organic cotton shower curtains whenever possible. Avoid products that have a “3" inside the recycling symbol, or that say "vinyl," "PVC," or are unlabeled.

Wal-Mart and Target claim they are removing baby products that include BPA, a chemical used to make pacifiers and baby bottles. Some researchers believe BPA can be harmful to a child’s development.

As author and biologist, Theo Colburn, was the first to identify plastics as potential endocrine disruptors in her seminal book, Our Stolen Future, (1996). She urged then and today the “Precautionary Principle,” adopting a "guilty until proven innocent" bias toward the introduction of common contaminants into our environment that can interfere with the natural signals controlling development of the fetus.   

Her most recent work records the presence of PVC flooring in homes and the emergence of allergies and eczema.  #


Anonymous User
Posted by Chuck Warren
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:50 PM EST

Ridiculous. Idiotic.

Anonymous User
Posted by joe smith
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:57 PM EST

yes i agreed. Look a autism increases. Only time will tell. Better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous User
Posted by Michael Tritico
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 1:15 AM EST

Thank you Dr. Colburn for what you have done through the years to bring out the truth. Michael Tritico

Posted by Arizona Accident Injury Attorney
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 1:46 AM EST

good investigation into an important area

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 4:08 AM EST

I am not some big business CEO here to tell you that you shouldn't worry about a thing. These people are crazy loon moonbat wackos who are just out to harm AMERICA and AMERICANS LIKE YOU. They eat Commie Flakes for breakfast. Wold you listen to anyone who eats Commie Flakes for breakfast? I didn't think so. So again, don't worry about a thing. We got your back ;)

Posted by Jason Bunting
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:56 AM EST

It's funny - my wife and I are very wary of any chemical substances in food, water bottles, hair and skin care products, etc. and sometimes when people find out, they think we are freaks; even my wife worries what people will think.

I think it is *more* insane that people are so willing to expose themselves to chemicals that they don't have any information about. "Oh, if it were bad for you, the FDA would ban it" they say. HA HA!! Are you kidding me?! I don't trust the FDA any more than a street corner drug dealer, each has about the same interest in my well being - they both care more about their own interests, which are largely tied to money.

Get a clue people, so few have your best interests in mind!

Posted by Michael
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 1:04 PM EST

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the research behind the latest plastic scare is based on bad science. These shower curtains are fine!


Jane Akre Injury Board Community Member
Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 7:31 PM EST

Hi Michael-

Editors Note * - That posting appears on Home Channel News, "the leading American home improvement retailing business magazine." In other words a magazine that represents the industry that makes vinyl shower curtains.

If the CPSC was conducting any studies into petroleum based chemicals, I would find that more reassuring. However they do none. They rely on the manufacturers to assure safety.

We find out after the fact that there is a problem. The CPSC also has no authority to recall. It relies on voluntary compliance. The UK model requires some adherence to safety standards before being introduced into our homes and environments. In the U.S.- Is the tail wagging the dog?

Anonymous User
Posted by me
Thursday, June 19, 2008 8:41 AM EST

If "everything is fine" as you say, then why are there even ANY plastic scares AT ALL? That there is ANY research showing that there are toxic chemicals leaching out of some plastic products is worrying enough. Has everyone already forgotten that plastic baby bottles containing BPA have been banned in Canada just a few months ago? Are our memories that short?

Anonymous User
Posted by Sally Joe
Friday, June 27, 2008 7:27 AM EST

You either believe it or NOT. Lets look at all the things this past year that have been recalled. A lot of people got sick and died.Then they told us it was no good. ~~AFTER the fact~~ I have been getting rid of all the plastic in my kitchen. I use glass when I can. Go ahead and hang a new shower curtain up in your bathroom, stay in there for an hour. Door closed, window closed. Let us if you got a headache?
Or just didn't feel well. Be honest.Sometimes you have to read both sides of the story to get to the truth.

Comments for this article are closed.

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