If you’re anything like me, this post may make you run around your house ripping all the shower curtains off and throwing them away.
I’ve been doing some research into how I can reduce the chemical load in our house (get rid of toxic materials) and I discovered that one of the most toxic items in every bathroom is the shower curtain liner.
Today I’ll share with you how your shower may be doing more harm than good and what you can do to find a healthier option.
Vinyl Shower Curtain Liners Are Toxic
When you move into a new place, one of the first things you do is go buy a new shower curtain liner. You pop out all the holes in the vinyl to get it on the rings and spend the next three weeks trying to pick up the little pieces.
What you might not know (I know I didn’t) is that that vinyl shower curtain liner is filled with 108 chemical substances (VOCs) that release into the air and contribute to low air quality, asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues and even cancer according to a 2008 report from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice PVC Campaign and Work Group for Safe Markets (read the report here).
They also found that of the vinyl shower curtain liners tested:
- They all contained high levels of phthalates. (In studies of rodents exposed to certain phthalates, high doses have been shown to change hormone levels and cause birth defects according to Wikipedia.)
- Some contained organotins (these are still being tested for toxicity, but have been shown to affect the nervous system, skin, liver, immune system and reproductive system).
- They all contained at least one of more of: lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium.
The study didn’t actually test these being used in actual showers, but they do note that the heat and humidity of a bathroom during a shower would actually increase the levels of VOCs being released.
OK…so are you running around the house ripping off the shower curtains yet and thinking what do I do now?
Shower Curtain Liner Alternatives
Fortunately for us, since this study was released a few years ago, manufacturers have responded and alternatives are easy to find. Do not purchase anything labeled “PVC” or just plain “vinyl” since sometimes they do not label them as PVC.
You should look for products made from:
These should be fairly easy to find these days and range from $5 – $90 so it’s an easy way to improve the air quality in your home without breaking the bank. You can click any of the links above to take you to products on Amazon.
Have you heard of vinyl shower curtain liners being toxic before?