You may be getting more than just clean when you step into your shower. According to a report issued by a national environmental organization, vinyl shower curtains can emit toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems.
The curtains tested were sold at retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart. It was found that they contain high levels of phthalates, which are linked to liver damage and damage to the reproductive, central nervous, and respiratory systems. One of the curtains that was tested released as many as 108 toxic organic compounds into the air, some of which lingered for almost a month.
The organization that spearheaded the study, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, wanted to determine what causes the "new shower curtain smell." Phthalates are not chemically bonded to shower curtains and are often added to soften or enhance the curtain's material. The safety of phthalates has been questioned in the past, including the effects of their presence in baby bottles and air fresheners.