Toxins from Shower Curtain

I learned this a number of years ago but was recently reminded when it was time to replace my shower liner again. You likely have at Shower Curtain Toxinsleast one (possibly two if your outer curtain is also plastic and not fabric) toxic shower curtain.

What is making your shower curtain toxic? 

The most common culprit is Vinyl Chloride. (PVC) which is a carcinogen. The chemicals involved are released further with a warm, moist environment. (Note: your shower?)

PVC in your shower curtain can produce phthalates, which are linked to ADHD, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and lower IQ, asthma and reproductive issues. Phthalates evaporate into the air as well and then cling to the dust in your home.

Ethylene Dichloride vapor can affect your nervous system, respiratory system, liver and kidneys.

Lead: This is usually familiar to people since we have banned it in many things (pencils, paint etc) Unfortunately it is still out there and according to the Department of Environmental Safety it has also been linked to kidney damage, learning disabilities, damage of the nervous system and anemia.

Petroleum: we have covered the dangers of petroleum in the past few weeks. It has also found its way into EVA and PEVA liners. In exchange for being chloride free they have subbed in petroleum to obtain pliability.


Yes! This one is an easy fix! There are safer and sustainable shower curtain materials. I went with organic cotton. Nylon is another quick drying choice.  Water resistant Polyester can be found as another solution to this problem. Slightly more expensive you can also find Hemp Shower curtains. Making a habit of closing the curtain after you shower allows it to dry out helping prevent mildew on any curtain.

Shower Curtain Toxins


Safe Products for Dry Skin

If you missed last weeks blog be sure to check out part one that kicked off these few weeks about petroleum skin care products. People LOVE Aquaphor. They swear by it for a variety of things-much like petroleum jelly. I once bought a huge jar of it (cringe) years ago when my daughter was getting eczema on her legs. Later we learned she was allergic to apples and that solved that problem.  Shortly Safe products for Dry Chapped Skinafter my purchase years ago I switched to oil moisturizers and that solved our dry skin issues.

Unfortunately moisturizer alone wasn’t keeping up with my son’s awful skin reactions to the toilet seat. Yes, you read that correctly-details in last weeks blog if you missed the crazy allergy. Aquaphor was suggested to me by many people (along with petroleum jelly) to heal his bottom.

What is In Aquaphor?

Aquaphor contains the same main ingredient: petrolatum.

Petroleum: This can cause organ toxicity (non-reproductive) and scores a 4 on the toxic scale according to EWG.

Lanolin alcohol: up next with a 3 rating. Derived from sheep glands-it is often an allergen without proven effectiveness.

Mineral oil: Another ingredient that is from hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. Mineral oil lists cancer among its concerns along with developmental toxicity and allergens.

There are several other ingredients that rate fairly safe so averaging out the overall rating toxin wise to a 2. Does Aquaphor work? Yes. Everyone I know swears by it and when I used to use it I was a fan. Will I use an unsustainable or petroleum product on my child’s skin? Nope.

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Moisturizer Ingredients
Healing Salve Ingredients


Should You Use Petroleum Jelly?

A few weeks ago we had an odd situation at my house. My youngest son finally toilet trained. (HOORAY!) Unfortunately, as he began using the toilet his bottom became redder and redder.  My first assumption was that it Toxins in petroleum jellymust be a chemical in the underwear and in my excitement I had not prewashed them all.  After prewashing nothing changed, except my ability to return the underwear he could no longer wear.  My next assumption was that he must need organic cotton underwear.  Hundreds of dollars later at Hanna Andersson nothing had changed.  In the end it seemed he was allergic to the toilet seat.  I really wish it had been the underwear-so much easier to solve!

I spoke to a lot of people during the phase of trial and error.  Shockingly name brands of Vaseline or Aquafor, were suggested as a solution to keep his bottom healed. This was a reminder that not everyone realizes these are petroleum-based products and have no business being rubbed on our skin.

While original Petroleum Jelly Vaseline brand only has one ingredient-that ingredient is Petroleum. White Petroleum rates a 4 out of 10 on the toxicity scale.

What is wrong with this solution?

Oddly enough if you chose the “baby version” it becomes even more toxic as it also includes fragrance, which scores an 8 out of 10. (10 being the most toxic)  Petroleum jelly is a by-product of the oil industry. Aside from not being an eco friendly or sustainable product, it is not the best skin care solution.  Vaseline brand in particular is highly refined, regarded as non-carcinogenic and non-comedogenic and has been triple purified. (Please note that there are different grades of purity so if you are opting for petroleum jelly you may not want to bargain shop here. Not every brand is considered non-carcinogenic!)

Toxins in petroleum jellyWhy the draw to petroleum jellies?

It gives you the illusion of moisturizing all while sealing in the dirt, bacteria and suffocating your pores. Refined or not I definitely do not think it’s wise to use on an area likely already containing bacteria and locking it onto cracked skin.

Additional dangers?

Yes. As an adult you are less likely to put your hands in your mouth but unfortunately children are a little grosser than that. It is likely a child could rub his bottom and then put his hands in his mouth. Getting petroleum in your lungs can cause lipid pneumonia. It’s not common, but neither is being allergic to the toilet seat and yet it happens.

What is the best solution?

In the end I used our Healing Salve  and a custom made salve with coconut oil and some essential oils since it was such a large sensitive area that it was easy to keep layering on without needing to rub. Within a few days the redness was hardly evident. Sadly we also had to order a fabric (ICK!) cover for our toilet seat to keep him off the plastic-but I will solve that gross problem with a lot of laundry!