Is Your Shower Curtain Toxic?
Have you ever noticed how a new shower curtain smells? There is a distinctive toxic odor in shower curtains pulled fresh from the packaging. This noxious odor is plastic softener, a potently hazard chemical compound that may be doing more than softening our curtains...
Today companies selling many of the products that we us on daily basis, spray these products down in a plethora of chemicals meant to soften the plastic, sterilize and keep things from going up in flames. One of the many down-sides to this practice is that we are literally coating our household items in a host of toxic “gender-bending chemicals.”
In fact, a scientific study [PDF] from the a conglomerate of environmental agencies such as The Center for Health, Environment and Justice’s (CHEJ), People for Puget Sound, the Washington Toxics Coalition, the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition and the Work Group for Safe Markets, found that the toxins coating shower curtains, flooring and many common children’s toys can lead to low birth-weight in babies. The study also confirmed that these items may be linked to other serious health problems in both children and adults.
What is more, the study demonstrated that these items, commonly bought at stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Kmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond, were coated in toxic chemicals linked to liver failure, nervous system disorders, respiratory issues, as well as poor reproductive health.
Phthalates & Vinyl Chloride
Researchers found that plastic shower curtains from the aforementioned stores all contained very high amounts of phthalates, a chemical which has been scientifically linked to birth defects.
One of the curtains even showed concentrations of over 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This same curtain emitted concentrations of these VOCs into the air for almost one month after being aired-out.
How can it be, you may ask, that the Environmental Protection Agency has publicly demonstrated that seven of the chemicals found in shower curtains are hazardous air pollutants, and yet companies can still sell them to uninformed consumers? One of the chemicals, vinyl chloride, is even a well-known carcinogen that has been shown to lead to liver cancer in humans in scientific studies. What is more, the VOCs found in these curtains was over 15x higher than the recommended amounts that the Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program recommends for our households.
The study on birthweight shows that these chemical plastic-softeners have a devastating effect on the health of newborn babies, as the chemical actually mimics female estrogen. Should the mother breathe in these chemicals during her shower, it may actually be interfering with the development of the fetus. The study found that the fetuses were particularly vulnerable to what the mother was breathing in during the developmental stages of the first trimester.
What greater importance do we need to boycott these business practices, than the health of our unborn children? Currently, our society exposes pregnant women to a whole host of chemical toxins, in everything from the products they use to clean, to the flame retardants on our mattresses, on a daily basis.
How Can We Avoid This Scenario?
Do not buy shower curtains that contain these chemicals. Look for labels that say PVC or “vinyl” and avoid them.
Remember, the more flexible the shower curtain seems, the more likely it is to contain high amounts of the plastic softeners. Look for a shower curtain that is made from natural substances, like organic cotton. There are many on-line shops that sell these organic curtains, as well as shops like Ikea and Marks & Spencer that sell PVC-free versions.
Also, if you are pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant, the first three months are crucial to your baby’s development.
I would recommend that you choose household cleaning products, deodorants, make-up and other cosmetics that are chemical-free. This will do much to ensure your baby’s healthy development. For a full list of all household toxins and how to safely remove them, I recommend reading my book ‘The GREEN Body Cleanse‘.
About the author
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!