Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plastic Shower Curtains, et al

When I was a young teenager in the early '60s, my parents bought a new car with vinyl seats. I remember someone in the family exclaiming over the smell. It was new to us, because vinyl was a fairly new product (our old car had cloth seats, as I recall). My mother thought it was great, because she could just wash it with a wet dishrag when my youngest brother made a mess with his ice cream bar from A & W. Everyone heralded plastics as the new wonder fabric. Little did we know...

Several articles have come through my email box recently about plastic shower curtains. Now, I haven't used one of these for at least twenty years, not since I discovered the tightly woven fabric ones that you can toss in the washer and dryer. But it seems that science has finally caught up with itself, admitting that these things are toxic. Scientists are now saying that a plastic shower curtain releases more than 100 toxic chemicals into homes, including some suspected of causing cancer or hormonal abnormalities in children, especially boys.

One research study tested five curtains over a 28-day period and found 108 volatile organic compounds which can irritate the eyes, ears and throat and damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system. So the next time you smell that "new car" or "new shower curtain" smell, just do what we did when I was a kid--hold your nose and say, "P U."

No comments: