Dry cleaners use a hazardous air pollutant — perchloroethylene, or perc in the cleaning procedure. Exposure to this pollutant increases the risk cancer and neurological damage. With this in view, the Environmental Protection Agency tightened public health standards for dry cleaners yesterday. It says that cleaning shops located in residential buildings must stop using this toxic solvent in their machines by 2020.
But how feasible will it be with about 28,000 dry cleaners across the country using perc in the wash cycle to clean clothes? And, is the period provided is enough for the transformation or find an alternative? 1,300 of them operate in residential buildings only! According to the environmentalists, the rule can not find a complete and easy solution to it, as it will take years for phasing out machines that use the harmful solvent.