That “new car smell” is, in fact, the smell of cancer. The adhesives and plastics all emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dozens in all, including benzene, a carcinogen. A new study shows that the same is true of new shower curtains. They’re made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and offgas dozens of VOCs and even phthalates into your bathroom. Kmart, Target, and Sears have all said they’re going to phase out PVC-based shower curtains. Concerned about PVC, I switched to a fabric curtain liner a couple of years ago, and it’s a fine substitute. And I don’t even miss that new shower curtain smell.