I can’t tell how many times I have bought a new shower curtain and remarked about the smell of it when I took it out of its package. Now they are saying this odor can be a hazard to our health. Now they tell us this? I wonder if after all these years it could be the cause of my headaches.

The Center for Health Environment and Justice is claiming that more than 100 chemicals are being released when consumers open these packaged PVC shower curtains. They are trying to get the Consumer Product Safety Commission to pull all the curtains from store shelves.

During their study of the curtains they found they contain many harmful chemicals including volatile organic compound, phthalates, and organotins. The chemicals could potentially create health problems such as respiratory irritation, central nervous system, liver and kidney damage, nausea, headaches and loss of coordination.

Phthalates and organotins, which are not chemically bonded to the shower curtain, are often added to soften or otherwise enhance the curtain. These additives evaporate or cling to household dust more easily than the chemicals in the curtains themselves, Lester said. Volatile organic compounds also evaporate more easily than the less harmful chemicals, he said.

“PVC is just bad from cradle to cradle,” said Martha Dina Argüello, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “It’s a mess when you create, it’s a mess when you get rid of it, and its off-gassing when you’re using it.”

The American Chemistry Council said Thursday that there was no reliable evidence to show that phthalates were harmful.  Argüello said studies are still being done to find how it affects the people.

I think just to be safe for now that I will stay away from PVC shower curtains.

Jan Barrett

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