scaremongering

i’ve been up to absolutely no work, which has been lovely, and i have many fun things to post about. but this morning’s email from a good friend brought more of that “this common thing you have in your home will kill you and the US government never told you about it”:

Researchers purchased polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains from five American retailers. In laboratory tests they were found to contain chemicals including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalate, organotins and metals. Several chemicals found in the curtains are considered a human health concern under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, but are not regulated, according to the report.

Toxic chemical off-gassing may contribute to respiratory problems, and damage the liver, central nervous and reproductive systems, said the report, titled “Volatile vinyl: the new shower curtain’s chemical smell.”

Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, and heat or humidity can increase the release of chemicals, said the report.

and this provides me with another opportunity to get totally frustrated at how science is reported. yes, it’s possible that the chemicals in the shower curtain are harmful, but the article provides absolutely zero evidence about what harm could occur, under what exposure, and what probabilities. Thus, totally meaningless, and (I hate to agree with the plastics company), scare-mongering. at least the article is; maybe the report itself is not, but i haven’t read it and apparently neither has the reporter.

seriously, the most important part of the whole report never made it in to the article, which means that however many people actually read it will either run out and get a cotton shower curtain (what the canadians recommend) or feel guilty about potentially causing liver damage to their unborn children. i mean, i think it’s probably better for the world on average to use cotton instead of petroleum products. i have no problem with that. but let’s get some facts here before we jump to conclusions, is all i’m sayin’.

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