Are Blackout Curtains Toxic? | Certifications To Look For

Are Blackout Curtains Toxic? | Certifications To Look For

It seems like toxic chemicals are in everything! The regulations put in place by the government are not effective at regulating the amount of chemicals in products. It’s estimated that 25% of children's toys contain harmful chemicals.

The last place you want toxic chemicals are in the blackout curtains in your nursery!


What Toxins Can Be In Blackout Curtains?

There are several different toxins that can be found in blackout curtains. These toxins can be in curtains due to poor manufacturing standards or due to material selection to save costs.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 

VOCs are compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that they can be up to 10 times more concentrated indoors than outdoors.

Some examples of VOCs that can be found in your home are:

Benzene which can be found in cleaning products, gasoline and even sunscreens. Formaldehyde which can be found in fabrics, medicines, laundry detergents and cosmetics. Toluene which can be found in multipurpose cleaners, paints and glue. 



    Bisphenols are chemicals often used to manufacture plastic and are widely used in food packaging and baby products.

    Have you ever seen the term BPA? Well BPA is a bisphenol specifically its called bisphenol A! Next time you see a product that says BPA free you will know what that means!



      Phthalates are chemicals used as plasticizers in consumer products. Essentially, what plasticizers do is increase the flexibility of plastic. 

      Some examples of phthalates are DBP, BBP and DEHP which can be found in shampoos, cosmetics, certain finishes, adhesives and detergents.


        Heavy Metals

        The definition of heavy metals is

        1. They are a naturally existing elements.

        2. They have a high atomic weight.

        3. They have a minimum density that is five times larger than water.

        These chemicals can be used extensively in homes, agriculture, medicine and kids toys. Some common heavy metals are lead, cadmium and mercury. 

          What Effect Do These Toxins Have?

          We should preface that there can be toxins in just about everything! However, whenever we talk about toxins, you should keep in mind that the concentration of the toxin you are exposed to and for how long are the most important factors when it comes to your health.


          "This information here is designed to help make you a more conscious consumer".


          The takeaway message that we are trying to get across is to beware of these chemicals as you are the best advocate for yourself! Now that we have finished a brief disclaimer, let’s talk about some potential toxins that can be found in blackout curtains. 


          Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

          Asthma: There is some decently strong evidence linking VOCs to asthma. VOCs can cause inflammation in our organs responsible for breathing. This can lead to wheezing and throat irritation. 

          Cancer: VOCs can cause cells to mutate leading to cancer and long term exposure has been linked to leukaemia, brain and spinal cord cancer.

          Brain Damage: VOCs can cause impaired learning, impaired memory, brain damage, behaviour changes and dementia. 



            Reproductive Damage: BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical meaning it can impact normal hormone production. This can impact puberty, lead to prostate cancer, breast cancer and cause infertility. 

            Metabolic Damage: BPA is believed to have the ability to attack your thyroid. The thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism, body temperature, development and growth. 



              Phthalates are very similar to BPA as they are often in the same products and thus they often cause similar effects.

              Reproductive Damage: Phthalates are also considered endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They can also impact puberty and cause infertility. 

              Metabolic Damage: These chemicals have been linked to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

              Cancer: These chemicals have been linked to prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, ovary cancer and endometrial cancer. 

              Brain Damage: Phthaltes could impact the developing brain and kill brain cells.


                Heavy Metals 

                Brain Damage: Lead can impair learning and memory. It can also deplete our body of oxygen by preventing the creation of red blood cells. 

                Cancer: Cadmium can interfere with normal processes in our bodies which can lead to cancer.

                Kidney Damage: Cadmium can cause the loss of important minerals which can increase bone loss. 

                Respiratory Damage: Lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium can cause respiratory diseases. These heavy metals have also been linked to increasing susceptibility and severity to COVID-19.

                The Safety Certifications You Should Look For In Blackout Curtains?

                Now that we have sufficiently scared you, let’s talk about the independent certifications out there that will guarantee that the product has safe, negligible levels of VOCs, phthalates, heavy metals and bisphenols.

                For more information on the features to look for in nursery blackout curtains check out our blog post on the topic!


                "These safety certifications make life easier for all of us trying to navigate the disastrous hellscape that is consumer products".


                Greenguard Certified 

                The greenguard certification means that the curtains have been tested and scientifically proven to have low chemical emissions.

                It is a guarantee that the curtains only give off low levels of VOCs or other compounds when the curtains are exposed to sunlight or heat. 


                  OEKO-TEX Certified

                  This is an independent test that ensures that every component of the product i.e. every thread, button or other accessory has been tested for harmful substances and is therefore harmless for human health.

                  The test takes into account both regulated and non-regulated substances that could be harmful to human health. It is also extensively updated each year according to new scientific information. 


                    SGS Certified 

                    SGS certified means that the products, processes and systems meet national and international standards.

                    The ISO 9001:2000 requirement ensures that the organization has a quality management system that will consistently provide products that meet customer regulatory requirements and aims to enhance customer satisfaction. 


                      The California Proposition 65

                      Proposition 65 was introduced in 1986 in California to provide warnings about the significant exposures to chemicals that have the ability to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

                      If the product passes Proposition 65, it will not display this warning. 

                        This is important because California has more strict laws regarding importing products than Canada. The only test that is required to import consumer products into Canada is a flammability test.

                        There is no requirement to test for VOC’s, Phthalates, Bisphenols or Heavy Metals!


                        Now We Want To Hear From You!

                        Which chemical that can be present in blackout curtains surprise you the most?

                        Which chemical do you worry about the most? 

                        Click here to check out the Sleepout blackout curtain


                        Leave a comment down below!




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