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The many replies

  First of all, it was gratifying to have so many people interested in carrying
  on a conversation on the topics raised.  Thank you all for your responses.
  I'm responding in private to some of you to avoid monopolizing the list.  I'd
  like to make a few short comments to all, however.
  1)  VCM.  Jon: Apology accepted, qualifications acknowledged, product
  allegations not agreed to.  The data cited in the book and in Sam Epstein's
  reference are all at least 20 years old, prior to the use of VCM stripping
  technology.  I can provide more information for those who would like.
  2)  The New Car Smell.  Jackie: First, let's separate cars and shower
  curtains because they are different.  There are a number of materials in new
  cars--urethane, polypropylene, nylon and some vinyl.  In the last 20 years
  much progress has been made on reducing volatiles from materials thus
  reducing windshield fog.  PVC is no exception.  The plasticizers and
  stabilizers used there are different than many other vinyls, being polymerics
  or other higher molecular weight materials.  From that mix, I don't know what
  the new car smell is, but it's different from other articles, at least to me.
  I don't have exact odor analysis on the shower curtain odor, but to my nose
  and from discussions with an analytical chemist it is clearly not
  plasticizer, because if it were the smell would never dissipate as it does.
   It is more likely due to intermediate molecular weight materials that are
  more volatile than plasticizers, probably from stabilizers.  These materials
  tend to be carboxylic acids like stearic or lauric or in some cases more
  highly branched acids.
  3)  Lead.  Charlie:  Thanks for your response.  I won't go through all the
  twists and turns because we could argue all night.  Fun for us, boring for
  others.  I do want to address the "lie" issue.  The high lead article to
  which I referred was the raincoat.  The TMA statement referred to toys.  At
  the risk of getting another explanation, if you view your raincoat as a toy,
  I hope Santa thinks more highly of you this year.
  I'd still like to see these analyses done on some things other than vinyl.
  Bill Carroll
  Chlorine Chemistry Council