Those vinyl shower curtains that nearly every home has, can emit up to 100 different chemicals. That “new shower curtain” smell is actually the out-gassing of fumes given off by these chemicals.
I replaced my shower liners with fabric ones a few months ago after my husband whined about the smell making him feel sick. Now I know he was not just being a pansy, but there is definite truth that these toxic fumes make you sick. This includes nausea, headache and many of the compounds in these PVC liners are listed as known carcinogens by the EPA.
And according to a recent LA Times article
“The study found that PVC shower curtains contained high concentrations of phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive effects, and varying concentrations of organotins, which are compounds based on tin and hydrocarbons. One of the curtains tested released measurable quantities of as many as 108 volatile organic compounds into the air, some of which persisted for nearly a month.
Seven of these chemicals — toluene, ethylbenzene, phenol, methyl isobutyl ketone, xylene, acetophenone and cumene — have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants, said Stephen Lester, the center’s science director and a coauthor of the report.
Potential health effects include developmental damage and harm to the liver and the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, according to the report….
Vinyl chloride, which is a major building block of PVC, is a known human carcinogen that causes liver cancer, Lester said.”
Phthalates were recently banned in a new act pass by congress that will help protect children from such harmful substances.
If you have a vinyl shower curtain, get rid of it, preferably recycle it so it won’t end up in a landfill. And opt for a fabric version like this made from polyester or a cotton one like this. I actually really prefer them for more reasons than they are non-toxic. They look better, I feel like they are cleaner, you can toss them in the washer and of course, they don’t smell up the bathroom for weeks!