It was time to update the girls' bathroom from fluffy rugs and pink checks to something a little hipper and more modern. I started with the light, installing a sleek tubular model from one of my favorite lighting designer brands, George Kovacs. (Too bad it's much smaller than the previous light, necessitating a paint job over the remaining white space that will probably take me months to cover.)
Installed a teak shower mat, which won't harbor dust, cat hair or dampness -- and never needs to be machine washed, hoorah. Now for the shower.
As you all know, I try to avoid heavy swathes of material whenever possible, as mold is darned hard to extinguish and those nasty neurotoxin pollutants, PCBs, are most likely to linger in house dust. Plastic might be fun and clean, and give the room an edgier look, but most shower curtains are made with PVCs, or polyvinyl chloride, and ooze phthalates, a nasty chemical that acts like a false hormone in our bodies and has been linked to developmental and reproductive problems.
What to do? Well, as it turns out, there are now eco-friendly plastic shower curtains. They're made from PEVA or EVA, which has no vinyl or chlorine, and is based on polyethylene plastic. It's not biodegradable, but is generally regarded as less harmful to use and to make than PVC.
I chose an Ecoplast brand PEVA curtain in a fun cats pattern, playing off the black-and-white photo prints already hanging in the room, from vitafutura.com. For $28.99 plus $7.98 shipping, it wasn't cheap; though certainly cheaper than nice fabric ones. When the curtain arrived (from Germany, where it's made, via the online retailer in Tampa), it had no odor, unlike PVC models. It is, however, a bit on the thin side, and has no grommets for hanging, which makes me worry that it will rip easily. Time will tell. It was nice and long, though, and completely watertight.
I'll finish the room with a Benjamin Moore Kitchen & Bath low-VOC paint in sunny yellow, in case you were wondering. When I'll get to it, that is.
The Verdict: At the outset, PEVA is a great alternative to PVC shower curtains.