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178 Years – “A Culture of Solvents”

Since 1840 dry cleaners have been cleaning clothes with chemicals. That was 178 years ago, and since that time countless people have been exposed to toxic substances in the workplace, in their clothes, and it still continues today.

According to the EPA, 60% of dry cleaners nationwide still dry clean with perchloroethylene, a substance outlawed in California because it causes cancer.

New solvents in California have been approved as alternatives to perchloroethylene but they are not rated as non-toxic and haven’t been tested for chemical residues left after dry cleaning. The only non-toxic cleaning technologies recognized by the Air Resources Board are Wet Cleaning and CO2 Cleaning.

All dry cleaners nationwide create hazardous waste but many claim, deceptively, they are dry cleaning your clothes environmentally friendly. These claims are in violation of Federal Trade Commission Title 16, the California Business Code 17.500 and 17.200 and the Better Business Codes of Advertising 36.1 to 36.1.5. Professional Wet Cleaning has proven to be an excellent alternative to dry cleaning. Wet cleaners today, with the new technological advances are successfully processing all garments from delicate wool to cashmere, regardless of the outdated “dry clean only” labels. And they do this without generating any hazardous waste.

It’s time to change the “Culture of Solvents”

New and Used Solvent

Here are actual samples of new and used solvent.

The base tank solvent used to dry clean your clothes is on the right. It is only replaced as it evaporates.

Hazardous Waste

All dry cleaners nationwide create hazardous waste. Here is sludge from the reclaimer/cooker and a typical filter.

Deceptive Dry Cleaners

FTC guidelines, the California Business Codes and the BBB codes prohibit dry cleaners from claiming they are dry cleaning environmentally friendly. These products and statements are violations.

We all Read Labels

What are Dry Cleaners using to clean your clothes? We need a label notice posted at the counter.

ONLY Two Technologies Are Non-Toxic

The Air Resources Board Approved ONLY these two cleaning technologies as Non-Toxic:

– Wet Cleaning –
– CO2 Cleaning –

Here Are The Other Six

They are NOT Approved as Non-Toxic:

Hydrocarbons-(Pur Dry®, EcoSolv®, Shell 140, DF-2000™
Decamethylcyclopentasiloxa – (Green Earth®)
Propylene Glycol Either – (Rynex™)
1-Bromopropane (n-propyl bromide) – (DrySolv™)
Dipropylene glycol normal butyl either/C – (Solvar™)
Formaldehyde dibutyl acetal – (SolvonK4)


For more information, please visit:

Dry Cleaning Solvent Disclosure Program – Toronto

California Air Resources Board


Email questions to:

dryclean@arb.ca.gov

Here are samples of the concerns about the solvents as listed on the ARB website:

– Linked to many ill-health effects –
– Limited toxicity and health data –
– Can cause uterine tumors in rats –
– Can damage nerves –
– Numbness-paralysis –
– Contributes to ozone –
– VOC Systems require permits –

Go here to view the full text of the ARB Health and Environmental Impacts

For More Information

Solvent & Hazardous Waste Testing

hazwastehelp.org/health/drycleaners.aspx

California ARB-Alternative Solvents
Health And Environmental Impacts

arb.ca.gov/toxics/dryclean/notice2015_alt_solvents.pdf

$10,000.00 Grants in California to Perchloroethylene Users who Change to Wet Cleaning or CO2 Cleaning

arb.ca.gov/toxics/dryclean/ab998.htm

A History of Dry Cleaning by the California State Coalition For Remediation of Drycleaners

Dry Cleaning – Historical Developments

California Committee on Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials

Chairman Bill Quirk: (916) 319-2020
Chief Chemical Consultant Josh Tooker: josh.tooker@asm.ca.gov
Legislative Director Miranda Flores: miranda.flores@asm.ca.gov