If you’re shopping for a new shower curtain, you are bound to come across a few confusing labels and acronyms, such as PEVA and EVA.
Perhaps you haven’t changed your shower curtain in ages, and now you’ve realized that you’ve slept through the bathroom decor revolution. Even walking down to Home Depot to buy a few shower accessories isn’t as simple as it used to be.
We have realized that some of the products we’ve been using for ages may not have the best impact on our health, so many people are switching to safer alternatives. To get back in the loop, here’s what you need to know.
The Trouble With PVC Vinyl Shower Curtains
A study by CHEJ has shown that PVC contains toxic chemicals. This data came to light back in 2008, but PVC vinyl shower curtains are still available for purchase.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride plastic) is often labeled as “vinyl”. The problem is, there are more types of vinyl, and not all of them are harmful, so such packaging isn’t very revealing.
If you’ve ever bought a PVC shower curtain, you probably noticed a weird, plastic smell when you opened the package. That smell can linger for a while before disappearing.
But, even when the smell is gone, vinyl curtains may continue to release gases that can harm your health. Washing a PVC curtain with detergent and hot water will only make things worse.
PVC contains a type of plastic softeners called phthalates. EPA has labeled phthalates as a “probable human carcinogen.” In 2018, the US federal government prohibited the use of some phthalates in child care articles and children’s toys.
These plastic softeners can cause hormonal and reproductive problems in humans. Researchers have also linked them to obesity, diabetes, and asthma.
PVC shower curtains also contain chloride. If PVC materials are not properly disposed of, chloride may build up in the environment and contribute to air pollution.
PVC vinyl shower curtains can release over 100 different VOCs (volatile organic compounds) at high levels. These chemicals have a negative impact on indoor air quality. VOCs can cause fatigue, nausea, headache, eye irritation, and a plethora of other negative health effects.
It’s true that we can find these harmful chemicals in many other products, not just shower curtains. Avoiding them altogether is almost impossible. But, we should do what we can to get rid of the PVC products we use every day.
Considering that your bathroom is a hot and humid place where you spend plenty of your time, it would be good to make it PVC-free. If you have a PVC vinyl shower curtain, it’s high time you replace it with a less-harmful alternative.
PEVA Shower Curtains
PEVA shower curtains are a much safer alternative to PVC vinyl curtains. PEVA (also abbreviated as EVA) stands for polyethylene vinyl acetate. It is a non-toxic type of vinyl, and, as such, it is the best alternative to PVC.
PEVA shower curtains have all the desirable properties of PVC shower curtains. But, unlike PVC materials, they do not emit noxious gases or odors.
PEVA shower curtains are biodegradable and do not contain chlorine. This makes them one of the most environmentally sound solutions for your shower. Materials made from PEVA do contain VOCs, but at very low, non-harmful levels.
Most importantly, PEVA shower curtains are waterproof, mildew-resistant, and mold-resistant. They are easy to clean and you can use them without a liner. All you need to do is wipe your shower curtain with a sponge every now and then.
PEVA materials are just as durable as PVC materials. Thanks to retailers such as Amazon and IKEA, PEVA shower curtains are not hard to come by.
Since they are increasingly popular, there are more and more PEVA shower curtain options available on the market. You should be able to find a PEVA shower curtain that fits in with the decorative style of your bathroom.
Other Alternatives to PVC
Hemp Shower Curtains
When it comes to environmentally friendly-materials, hemp is hard to beat. If safety is your number one concern, hemp may be the best option for you. Hemp shower curtains may not be as practical as PEVA shower curtains, but they are machine washable.
Hemp fibers are tightly woven together to create a long-lasting water-resistant curtain. Mind you, it will soak in some water, but the water won’t leak through so easily.
Hemp shower curtains dry quickly, and, as long as you keep your bathroom well-ventilated, you won’t have to worry about mold.
Unlike conventional plastic curtains, hemp won’t trap moisture inside your tub. Hemp has a longer lifespan than most other natural fabrics.
Cotton Blend Shower Curtains
Cotton is the most popular fabric in the world, so there are plenty of cotton blend shower curtains. Just like hemp shower curtains, they dry quickly and you can put them in the washing machine.
Even though they are not waterproof or resistant to mold, cotton blend shower curtains are as safe as they get, so there’s no off-gassing to worry about. Cotton blend shower curtains are more affordable than hemp shower curtains and come in a wider variety of decorative styles.
Nylon Shower Curtains
Nylon shares some properties with both PEVA and natural fabrics. It’s not 100% waterproof like PEVA, but it is much more water-resistant than cotton. Nylon is also much less likely to develop mold and mildew than natural fabrics.
Nylon shower curtains contain some of the same chemicals as PEVA shower curtains. Still, just like PEVA curtains, nylon curtains are safe to use.
You can safely wash your nylon shower curtains in the washing machine. Nylon shower curtains are very affordable and they will last you a long time if you take good care of them.
Whether you are simply replacing your old shower curtain or completely renovating your bathroom, make sure to get a PVC-free curtain or consider a shower wall.
PVC vinyl curtains contain harmful chemicals and can emit gases and odors that can cause a plethora of health problems. PEVA shower curtains are an affordable and convenient alternative. Hemp, cotton-blend, or nylon shower curtains are also worth considering.