Inexpensive shower curtains manufactured from PVC have long been a mainstay of homes across the nation. Available in a number of colors and with a huge variety of prints these cheap but cheerful additions to bathrooms are favored not only because they offer value for money but also because they are easy to install and give a dash of vibrancy even to the most drab of bathrooms.
However these shower curtains have been implicated in a number of health issues.
That ‘new shower smell’ – that caused by the leaching out of gases from the material used to manufacture these shower curtains and they have been implicated in some nasty long term health problems. The EPA has found that this off gassing contains significant numbers of toxins such as toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, ethylbenzene and many other noxious substances. The shower curtains tested came from a number of big brand stores – so this problem is extremely common.Headaches, liver damage, damage to the central nervous system, nausea as well as damage to the reproductive functions and respiratory distress are only some of the effects.
And these toxins remain airborne for around one month.
However, there are alternative materials that can be used in the manufacture of shower curtains. PEVA shower curtains contain less of the material that gives off these toxic volatile emissions.
Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate (PEVA) is free of chlorine, but they still are sourced from petrochemicals and they also contain other chemicals which have not been tested for long term toxicity. This makes them better than PVA manufactured shower curtains but PEVA shower curtains are by no means a perfect ‘green’ solution. But the absence of chlorine does greatly reduce the off gassing problem.
So if you want to avoid the health issues that come along with PVA shower curtains what do you do?
Firstly don’t buy any shower curtains where the materials include the word ‘vinyl’, unless it also says that it’s free of PVC.
Secondly don’t buy shower curtains that contain additive materials that make it ‘anti bacterial’ or anti mold’. Those are simply not necessary. They add cost and come with a whole host of other materials that have been implicated in health problems. Simply wiping down the shower curtain with a mild detergent will accomplish the same thing and will be a lot more friendly to the health of your family.
There are a couple more choice if you want to avoid PVC, but you may have to go online or search for them as they are not as widespread as PEVA shower curtains or those manufactured with PVC.
These choices include materials such as hemp, organic cotton and used sailcloth, as well as linen. All of these choices are going to be considerably more expensive than PVC, but would you rather save a few dollars and sacrifice your health.
So – avoid PVC and choose a more healthy alternative. Of all your choices, PEVA shower curtains are probably going to be the best value for money.