New Shower Curtains Smell Like Cancer

PVC products linked to wide-ranging and long-lasting ills
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2008 5:40 PM CDT
This bathroom is full of trouble.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Ever wonder about that smell given off by new shower curtains? Well, according to a new study, it’s poisonous. An independent organization has found that PVC shower curtains on shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and others may give off measurable amounts of dangerous, volatile organic compounds that could linger for up to a month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Some of the compounds found in the study are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants; other chemicals found on the curtains are linked to damage in the liver, the reproductive system, and the central nervous system. The EPA conducted a similar study, with similar results, in 2002, but the agency has no jurisdiction over indoor air quality. (Read more PVC stories.)