A new report says that the smell given off by new vinyl shower curtains is chock-full of dangerous chemicals, reports the Los Angeles Times. Researchers tested PVC curtains purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart, and found that all of them contained “high concentrations” of what’s technically known as “bad stuff”—”One of the curtains tested released measurable quantities of as many as 108 volatile organic compounds into the air, some of which persisted for nearly a month.” Update: the report is receiving criticism from some medical and science experts, including a spokeswoman for the CPSC.
“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 it’s off-gassing when you’re using it.”
So is it possible to buy PVC-free shower curtains? Yes! Target and Sears/Kmart say they’re phasing out PVC, while Bed Bath & Beyond is increasing the number of PVC-free curtains it offers. However, the authors of the report said that Wal-Mart didn’t respond to repeated requests for its PVC policy—which is odd, considering how quickly it moved to announce it would pull BPA products from shelves back in April.
“That ‘new shower curtain smell’ gives off toxic chemicals, study finds” [Los Angeles Times]