Do you use a shower curtain?
Taking a shower can be an incredibly relaxing, comforting, healthy ritual. And we want to keep the water where it belongs. But…
Not all shower curtains are created equal.
Many showers today still require a curtain, and if you have one, or have showered in one of these showers recently you may be familiar with the “shower curtain smell”. So even if you don’t use a shower curtain, consider this flexible plastic smell! Many (most!) shower curtains are made with PVC, or polyvinylchloride, along with phthalates or DEHP to make it soft and flexible (think table cloths, rubber ducks, garden hoses, etc).
TWIC member Lara Adler, Environmental Toxins Expert & Educator and Certified Holistic Health Coach shares:
DEHP acts as a synthetic estrogen in the body, where it’s able to impact our hormones in really detrimental ways. While very few studies have look at the role DEHP and other phthalates play in human disease, they’ve been widely studied in animals, and the results aren’t good. Phthalate exposure has been found to be linked to or associated with multiple developmental and reproductive health issues like:
+ early onset of puberty
+ interference with normal male genital tract development
+ altered hormonal function
+ low testosterone, low sperm counts, and testicular cancers.
Because phthalates are synthetic estrogens, in our bodies, they’re able to mimic or block naturally occurring hormones, which can result in everything from metabolic disorders like diabetes and insulin resistance, to thyroid disorders and infertility. In animal studies phthalates have been shown to increase liver weight, compromise liver function, and have adverse effects on the heart, kidneys, lungs, and blood.
Metabolites, or break down products of DEHP have been found in nearly all people tested, indicating that it’s ubiquitous in the environment. A big reason for this is because phthalates like DEHP and others are found in so many products in our homes – and we’re breathing them in, eating them in our foods, and absorbing them through our skin.