Dear Pottery Barn Kids

I'm a letter writer. I always have been. If I enjoy a book, I seek out the author and tell her so. If I have a great experience at your restaurant, you may receive a dainty note from moi. But if you're a big corporation, and I sense a lack of proper judgment on your part, you'll almost certainly hear about it. From me. I'm fierce. (Just ask me.)

So here's my latest, and its unsatisfying paste-in-our-boilerplate-language answer.

Dear Pottery Barn Kids (sent 4/7/11 via a Web Comment Form)

You make the cutest things in the world.  In fact, I don’t even leave your catalog lying about in my home, lest my own children should discover the existence of an entire custom designed world just their size.  They will have to make do with a few choice selections from your pages.  We are currently enjoying some very nice chambray sheets from PBK.

I am writing with a question.  I noticed that you switched to a shower curtain liner made from EVA, which is supposed to be much healthier than ordinary vinyl.  That’s a good idea.  But now I have to wonder why you still have wall decals—lots of them—made of vinyl.  If it’s such a good idea to change that nasty vinyl bath curtain to EVA… wouldn’t it be an equally bad idea to put vinyl in a child’s bedroom?

I received this response two days later:

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for contacting Pottery Barn Kids.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. You should know that Pottery BarnKids requires all of its vendors to comply with all Federal, State and applicable industry standards for product safety, including product materials and finishes. Specific product information, including the names of our vendors, is proprietary and therefore cannot be released. However, we can assure you that our products have been tested and will perform up to your expectations. In addition to providing product warnings where appropriate, we specifically identify allergens known to affect a measurable part of the population with a specific condition, such as allergies to natural rubber latex. For example, floor rugs containing natural rubber latex identify its presence on the label to allow our customers to make an informed purchasing decision.

We appreciate your interest in our products and hope that this clarifies your concerns. 

Kind regards,

June Homesley, Pottery Barn Kids Customer Service

It's really just a pat on the head, isn't it? Of course I understand why. The world hasn't gotten the message about vinyl yet, and how its proliferation could poison our children's groundwater for decades to come. Some believe that its biggest risk is in manufacture--that dioxins escape the factory and poison people and edible fish.

It's bad stuff, but it's in our homes (plumbing) our kitchens (cabinetry liners) and elsewhere. I don't have a vinyl shower curtain or vinyl siding on my house, but I do have a vinyl swimming pool liner. And I feel a little bad about it every time I look upon it's wavy faux-tile blueness.

But let's keep it out of the nursery, Pottery Barn. If not there, then where?