Environmental Watchdog Group Worried About Shower Curtains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/13/08

Environmental Watchdog Group Worried About Shower Curtains

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A new report from the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice is concerned about shower curtains. We all know the smell that comes when you first open a new plastic shower curtain or liner.  According to that group, the smell and its source are full of toxic chemicals.

Michael Schade, of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, says, "We found that one new PVC shower curtain can release over 100 volatile organic compounds into the air, or VOC's. VOC's are chemicals that easily transmit to gasses and can contaminate our air. Some of them have been linked to respiratory problems, some of them are irritants, some of them can damage the liver, the reproductive system, and some of them have even been linked to cancer in animals and in humans"

The group tested polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, plastic shower curtains purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Kmart, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart.  They found volatile organic compounds, or VOC's, were at the highest level when the curtain was brand new. After 28 days, the levels were significantly lower but still present. Some stores, including those where the tested curtains were purchased, are phasing out the toxic stuff in those curtains, but that takes time. The publishers of the report are calling on the government to recall the shower curtains and regulate the use of these chemicals immediately.

On the flipside, the American Chemistry Council says the study is flawed- that it may raise awareness about the environment but the health scare is overdone.

If you're concerned, look for a shower curtain that does not contain vinyl or PVC.

To learn more, visit the Center for Health, Environments, and Justice website.  (click here)

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