by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC
I have shower envy. I used to have a shower with a door – no curtain required. My first choice is a solar outdoor shower (at work on that one…) but right now I have a stall with a shower curtain. It was easy to find a naturally antibacterial hemp version but after the first year, I noticed mold growing on the bottom. I did more research, discovering that while hemp is mold resistant, it only works well in an airy bathroom and dry climate. Since I have neither, I have mold. I’ve been squeaking by for awhile, making the most of tea tree oil in the wash, but have been waiting and watching for a solution – determined to not go back to the evils of Plastic and PVCs.
Recent research and a Report has recently been done at The Center for Health, Environment and Justice, testing shower curtains from Kmart, Walmart, Sears and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The smell belies the concentration of chemicals when you open the package, though as it turns out it’s worse than that. There are nearly 108 compounds present in the typical shower curtain, seven of which have been identified by the EPA as hazardous air pollutants. Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen that causes liver cancer and has also shown to emit toxins linked to damaging the central nervous system, respiratory and reproductive systems.
The Center has sent letters to 19 major retailers, informing them of the report and encouraging them to stop selling products containing PVC. The report will hopefully bring attention to the lack of regulations and guidelines governing indoor air pollutants.
Fortunately, I was led to Healthgoods.com yesterday (through a site I visit frequently -Â LIME.com) which let me know that I wasn’t the only one trying to go plastic-free, but looking for a solution to curtain mold. Healthgoods.com offers all kinds of pvc-free curtains, INCLUDING one which was mold-proof even in humid climate. In fact, it is made from 100% RECYCLED polyester – details here. I’m darn excited to have found the solution I needed. It was worth the wait. I’ll let you know more when it gets here.
In the meantime, click on the link to listen and read about the Report on shower curtains and PVCs everywhere.