There’s nothing more refreshing than a cool shower after a hot summer’s day or an hour or two at the gym. A shower will wake you up and get you ready to face the day with a smile on your face. A cup of coffee and you’re ready for any challenge.
However, that PVC shower curtain with the bright and breezy daisy pattern could actually be damaging your health.
That’s according to the Environmental Protection Agency which tested a sample of five value for money PVC shower curtain from major retail stores and found that they contained material that gives off extremely harmful gasses.
The gasses given off by these shower curtains read like a horror story of potentially damaging materials. phenol, methyl isobutyl ketone, toluene, acetophenone and xylene are only some of the toxic chemicals that you are exposed to when you step into the shower – a total of over 100 ‘volatile organic compounds’ was found in one of the examples tested.
Inhale these compounds and you could be in for a world of health problems sometime in the future. Long term expose can cause a wide variety of health issues, including headaches, nausea, damage to the central nervous system and respiratory system as well as liver damage.
So are there any alternatives to plastic shower curtains made from PVC?
Happily the answer is yes. A material called Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate can be used in the manufacture of ‘plastic’ shower curtains.
PEVA shower curtains are by no means a perfect solution to the dilemma faced by those in search of a great value for money shower curtain solution. PEVA shower curtains are still made from the by products of the petrochemical refining process and are therefore hardly a ‘green’ option, but they have been shown to release far fewer volatile organic compounds than the PVC option – and as a bonus they don’t contain chlorine.
Chlorine is thought to be the catalyst that allows the majority of the volatile organic compounds to enter the air so easily – so the exclusion of chlorine from the PEVA versions of shower curtains is actually a big deal.
However the PEVA shower curtain still contain quite a few chemicals which have not been tested for their long term health effects – so basically they may be the lesser of two evils. However, most (if not all) modern plastic products contain vast amounts of chemicals so it’s difficult to get away from that reality.
If you do want to go that extra mile and find more health friendly options it’s going to cost a bit more and these alternatives are not as widely available. Check out linen, sailcloth, cotton and hemp for some alternatives. Just be aware that these are going to take A little bit more care to keep clean – and mold, as well as staining can both be problems with these alternatives to plastic shower curtains.
However, what price your health. Cost and a bit more work should be a small price to pay.