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Question from C. H.

I am looking for an airjet tub that would be safe. One company [name deleted] said that their urethane tubs are the only green product around. My HVAC guy says that 100% acrylic tubs are inert. However, as far as I can see, the acrylic tubs have a fiberglass and resin shell which is where the problem mostly lies. Any info?

Also, do you know how to construct a tiled bathtub where the bathtub itself is made of tile?

Debra’s Answer

I contacted the company that is making the claim that their urethane bathtub is “green.” Here’s what I found out.

Acrylic-lined tubs have a shell of fiberglass. So it’s fiberglass on the outside and acrylic on the inside.

The toxic element in fiberglass is polyester resin. Polyester resin has a styrene carrier which outgasses VOCs.

This company replaces the polyester resin in the fiberglass with urethane, which does not outgas, so there are zero VOCs. That’s the green claim–that it has zero VOCs.

However, the fiberglass is on the outside of the tub, which usually is completely sealed against a wall or within a tile surround. So whatever VOCs do outgas probably are not going into the room once the tub is installed.

Still I am concerned about the acrylic liner being a plastic and that none of these materials are renewable or biodegradable. Certainly I would call this a less toxic tub, but I would still stay away from any plastic tubs. A standard porcelain tub would still come out ahead.

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