Goodbye Perc, Hello Green Dry Cleaning: EPA approves California regulations banning PERC by 2023

Dry CleanersThis week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its approval of California’s regulations banning the use of perchloroethylene (also known as perc and tetrachloroethylene) in dry cleaning operations by 2023. EPA is required to regulate the use of perc by dry cleaners pursuant to the Clean Air Act. However, its approval of California’s rules means the replacement of EPA’s federal regulations with the state’s more stringent ones and sends California on its way to becoming the first perc-free dry cleaning state.

A little background to put this in perspective… In 1991, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) identified perc as a toxic air contaminant. As a result of its toxic classification, CARB adopted the Airborne Toxic Control Measures for emissions of perc from dry cleaning operations (Dry Cleaning ATCM) in 1993. In 2003, CARB evaluated the effectiveness of the Dry Cleaning ATCM. It found that perc emissions were greatly reduced, but that more could be done and the process to amend the Dry Cleaning ATCM got underway. In January of 2007, amendments to the Dry Cleaning ATCM were adopted by CARB and became state law in December of 2007. These amendments constitute what EPA approved this week.

Why, you ask, is this particular industry’s use of this one chemical getting so much attention? Because perc is nasty stuff (that is a very legal as well as scientific classification…). It is a probable human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). In addition, perc is linked with liver and kidney damage in rodents and neurological effects in humans. Acute exposure can cause loss of coordination, eye, nose and throat irritation and headache. Although EPA gains its regulatory authority over perc from the Clean Air Act, other severe environmental impacts that have been associated with perc include wastewater, groundwater and soil contamination.

Posted in:
Updated:

3 responses to “Goodbye Perc, Hello Green Dry Cleaning: EPA approves California regulations banning PERC by 2023”

  1. Joette Navappo says:

    It’s antiperspirant that contains aluminum, not deodorant. It’s easy to find aluminum free deodorant for men, but much more difficult for women. I’ve switched to deodorant (Adidas makes a decent one), but I’ve been thinking of looking for a more natural alternative. Deodorants irritate and dry out my skin (higher alcohol content maybe?), but I don’t know what else to try.Report this comment as spam or abuse

  2. Danuta Colombo says:

    Its part of an unhealthy lifestyle sitting down for long periods of time anywhere can be linked to unhealthyness, especially if you have a load of junk food in your hand!

  3. Nada Kaase says:

    I know some pros and cons and I gotta admit, the clean factor is attractive but the waste scares me, (considering the long term IS important!) as does the enormity of the results of error or sabotage.