Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chemicals in shower curtains too?

With all the talk about bisphenol A in plastics, I found this article about chemicals in shower curtains interesting. Where do we draw the line?

Here's the story on iVillage.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains and liners release into the air 108 toxic chemicals that can affect the lungs, central nervous system, liver and kidney, according to a study by the Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice. It wants the federal government to recall and ban all PVC shower curtains and liners.

The researchers examined shower curtains and liners bought at retailers Bed Bath and Beyond, Kmart, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart, the New York Daily News reported. "The familiar 'new curtain smell' may be toxic to your health," said Mike Schade, the center's PVC campaign coordinator. "It's really surprising that retailers are manufacturing products that contain and release harmful chemicals in our homes."

I know what you're thinking. Great. One more thing to worry about. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not to worry about shower curtains.(They also haven't banned bisphenol A from products, so I don't know how much that means to you.) Here's that part of the story.

But a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission dismissed the center's demand for a recall and ban of the products."There's no justification whatsoever for the agency to take any kind of action," Julie Vallese told the Daily News. "The claims being made about the dangers of shower curtains are phantasmagorical. It's ridiculous."

Consumers needn't be worried, said a New York pediatrician who specializes in environmental exposure. Dr. Joel Forman, an associate professor of community and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, recommended airing out a new plastic curtain for a week before hanging it in the shower.

My kids don't even really touch the shower curtain and I probably don't replace it as often as I should. So, I guess I am not that concerned. But maybe I should be. What do you think?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Billy Dennis said...

Jen: One thing I know -- and to which you alluded here -- is that the presence of toxic substances in an object is not the same thing as saying the object poses a real danger.

Apple seeds contain cyanide for example. If apples were rolling off an assembly line, they would probably be banned by the FDA.

In a completely natural unplastic, untoxic environment, we would be getting around via horse and buggy and the streets would be covered with feces. said...

Yah, so what about the Amish? You're right they are probably walking on dung and who knows what other natural icky things. They seem to be doing just fine. I never really thought about that.

Diane Vespa said...

In fact, they could probably lick their own feet and not get sick! ha ha ha!

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