What's the safest material for a bathtub?


What's the safest material for a bathtub?

Asked by Bpr

Hi there, we plan on replacing our bathtub, and I'm confused on what is the safest bath tub to buy. There are so many options. Acrylic, porcelain, fiberglass, steel, clear glass, cast iron. I want something safe to soak in without anything dangerous leaching into the water. I would love your feedback. Thank you!

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Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS's picture

Answering the question of which type of bathtub is the safest, my reply is that they are all 'generally'safe.

Government standards

Bathtub products have to meet minimum government standards to be sold in this countryas developed by:

  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute),
  • ASME (American Society of MechanicalEngineers) and
  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).

While researching this question, Iwas reminded that consumers will not find Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on tubs because they donot have a legal application but you should find statements (in the manufacturer's spec sheets) aboutwhich sections of the ANSI, ASME or ASTM the tub conforms to.

Further, most manufacturers legallyguard their fabrication process as proprietary.

Made in the USA

If I was to question the safety of a tub, I would probablydo so by origin of manufacturing.

We have seen several products coming out of foreign countries thatdo not meet our safety standards, be they food products or durable goods, but they still seemed tomake it into the country - message here is buy domestic.


In order to maintain the safety of your bathing vessel, be sure to follow the care and use instruction thiswill help minimize damage to the finished surface and the possibility of exposing the core of the tubwhich is not intended to come in contact with skin. Realize that if you nick or dent your tub it does notnecessarily mean that you could be harmed by such contact.

When choosing a tub, I would recommend that you consider:

  • how the maintenance of the tub fits yourlifestyle,
  • how the price point meets your budget,
  • how the appearance meets your aesthetic needs andmost importantly,
  • what is the life cycle analysis of the primary tub material?

Good luck!

For more information:

Read "Are there non- or less-toxic bathtubs?" a Q&A answered by Karen Smuland.