Vinyl Shower Curtains are Oh, So Toxic

I will never forget the scene in the movie “Psycho” when a woman is showering in her motel room and Norman Bates sneaks in, rips open the shower curtain and stabs the woman to death–the scene was and is pure terror. I hate to admit this but every now and again when I am showering I am certain someone is standing just outside the shower ready to kill me and the only thing protecting me is the thin shower curtain.

As it turns out, I should have been afraid of the very thing I felt made me safe from my imagination–the shower curtain. New vinyl shower curtains containing PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can emit over 100 toxic chemicals for as long as 28 days according to a new report from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice in the U.S. and the Environmental Defense and the Canadian Environmental Law Association in Canada.

This report titled “Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain’s Chemical Smell” tested five shower curtains that can be bought at any major retailer like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target and Wal-Mart. The purpose of the study was to determine what gives vinyl shower curtains their new smell.

The study concluded that the new shower curtain smell is a toxic soup of phthalates, organotins, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, methyl isobutyl ketone and a bunch of other chemicals that can cause headaches, nausea, and liver, central nervous system, respiratory and reproductive system damage.

If you are in the market for a shower curtain–avoid vinyl ones. If you have a new vinyl shower curtain, get rid of it or take it outside and let it air out for a month.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath2 years ago

Glad we now have a glass shower door

Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Thanks for the info.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Trudi Gray
Trudi Gray4 years ago

Both my shower curtains are of some plastic or other..I don't know what- have had them both for about 10 years..anyway, if worried, why not put the damn thing in the washing machine? I'd have thought that that would get rid of whatever dressing is on it..?

Jane Warren
Jane Warren4 years ago

No vinyl for us - we have a sliding glass door for the shower.

Green Home
Green Home4 years ago

Thankfully there are several options we can use other than vinyl!

Michele G.
Past Member 4 years ago

Cheers :)

iii q.
g d c.4 years ago

wow - why are they still allowed to use these materrials?

Jennifer Wheeler
Jennifer Wheeler4 years ago

Awe man... I bought a new shower curtain a couple months ago... Wish I had thought about letting it air out outside!! I think it's broken up it's chemical bonds by now... unless the shower curtain continues to emit toxic chemicals every time it's warmed up by hot shower water?