Hurtin’ curtains (Day 91)…


As he sipped away at his fair-trade espresso, my treehugging companion Lloyd Alter casually explained how vinyl shower curtains can lead to impotence — not because they’re less sexy than glass or open-concept (although that’s got to be part of it), but because polyvinyl chloride, used in the manufacturing process, is a known carcinogen that’s been linked to increased risks of brain tumors, cancer in the spinal cord and, most traumatic of all, erectile dysfunction.

If you ask me, it’s the best excuse ever to drag the hubby to Ikea, one of the few stores that sell PVC-free shower liners for less than $2 a pop. And with a cute Swedish name like Näckten, how can you resist?

I’ll admit, when I hung it up, there was something eerily Psycho about how shiny and transparent it was. But it’s more about function than form, and I figure if someone does attack me with a dagger one morning as I’m in the midst of sorting out some stupid vinegar and baking soda concoction to pour on my increasingly confused hair, at least I’ll be able to see him first.

The most eco-friendly way to go when it comes to shower privacy is, well, no privacy at all — ie. nothing. Or there’s plastic or glass doors, which don’t need to be replaced, and clean easily. But that’s not an option at my place, so I at least made sure the curtains on the outside were made of a natural material (silk), and I hope to replace this new liner no more than once a year.

10 Responses to Hurtin’ curtains (Day 91)…

  1. Lloyd Alter says:

    Just to clarify, its the phthalates, the plasticizer that softens the PVC. It is a gender bender

    ” three studies linked phthalate exposure to reductions in semen quality. All were of men exposed to background, environmental levels of phthalates, not higher occupational levels. One showed DNA damage in sperm. Two others (one from the US, the other from India) found reductions in sperm quality in men with slightly elevated phthalate levels. Phthalate levels associated with the damage were well within the range experienced by many Americans.” our stolen future

  2. vigilant20 says:

    Considering how many movie serial killers hide behind the shower curtains or sneak up on unwary shower takers…I think this may save a lot of lives.

    Shower liners can actually be laundered with great success to avoid replacing them on a regular basis.

  3. christal says:

    hello vanessa-
    I have a hemp curtain, and it resists mold naturally. I have had it for over two years now, with no problems. and of course, it can be easily laundered. (not that it needs it often, if you air dry it and put it out in the sun occasionally, but it does have the reusable factor going for it, too)

  4. Evan says:


    I wash my shower curtain, too. I’ve had it for years. If you use those little roller rings, you don’t have to worry about ripping the little fastener holes. It makes the shower curtain last longer. I think this current curtain is at least six years old or more. It gets washed once or twice a month. Just toss it in the washer by itself. I use the lowest setting on my front-loader. I think the cycle is 25 minutes (with very little soap, you can use your Dr. Bronners). It has a sensor, so it uses very little water, too. I had a friend that used to hose his curtain off in the driveway and scrub with a brush. He tosses his in the washer now, too.

  5. Keri says:

    I wash my IKEA liner curtain as well. And then hang it up to dry. I’ve had it for almost 4 years now and it still looks as good as new. 🙂

  6. Rhett says:

    I hear this bad news about PVC, and then I look over at all of our sexy clubwear and worry. I mean, on the one hand, we look so good in it. On the other…PVC.

    How much of this stuff in one’s home is genuinely unsafe, and what kind of contact do you have to have with it?

  7. Oh, but who doesn’t love that fresh, new PVC shower curtain smell! Fortunately I have a glass shower door and the kids still take baths. I suppose the vinegar smell trumps the shower curtain smell. But you don’t need to work about that with Der Näckten.

  8. Doler says:

    Wow…Very Nice information, thanks for sharing. I would like to syndicate the information to my blogs.

  9. shower curtains that are made from acrylic and polyester are the most durable ones, that is why we always use them ‘

  10. those plastic shower curtains are very cheap and you can install it easily without sweat `;:

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