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Green Dry Cleaning without Perc: Be Aware of Perchloroethylene Hazards

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 6/29/2011

Be aware of perchloroethylene hazards to human health & the environment. Know the green dry cleaning methods that make use of other cleaning solvents as alternatives to perc. Find information about this hazardous chemical being recommended for phase out for its harmful emissions & carcinogenicity.

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    Consider green dry cleaning, and the non-use of the dry cleaning solvent called perchloroethylene or “perc". Based on studies made at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, perchloroethylene hazards include causing disruption in the central nervous system and cancer.

    In addition, the dry cleaning process that makes use of perc, releases emissions that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layers.

    Ten of California’s drinking wells were said to be contaminated with perc, which could likewise contaminate a nursing mother’s breast milk. Persons affected by perc toxicity are said to manifest headache, memory problems, dizziness and nausea.

    Below are green dry cleaning methods using other solvents as alternative, that way, they can avoid the perchloroethylene hazards,

    Exxon D-2000 or Chevron-Phillips’ EcoSolv

    Other dry cleaning outlets operating in the U.S. are using petroleum solvents known as Exxon D-2000 or Chevron-Phillips’ EcoSolv. These are said to be hydrocarbon-based alternatives and have been widely accepted and considered as a reliable alternative to perc.

    Cyclic Silioxane

    A silicone-based dry cleaning solvent called Cyclic Silioxane was patented by the GreenEarth Cleaning. Due to its proven efficiency in reducing environmental hazards, Cyclic Silioxane has gained the support of Procter and Gamble and General Electric. They have formed a partnership with GreenEarth in order to help other dry cleaning businesses switch to green dry cleaning methods.

    Liquid Carbon Dioxide or CO2

    Another alternative to replace perc as a dry cleaning solvent is liquid carbon dioxide or CO2. The liquefaction of CO2 involves the process of putting the gas under tremendous pressure until it is converted into liquid. As a dry cleaning solvent, its strength and potency as a cleaning material is proven by its ability to clean machines used in nuclear weapons research facilities.

    Special Biodegradable Soap

    Other cleaners operating in the U.S. make use of a special biodegradable soap for a “wet cleaning" method, which is highly regarded as non-polluting and non-toxic method. Actually this is the green method being endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA recommends clothes washing that makes use of special biodegradable soaps and energy efficient computerized machines, which have the ability to control water temperature and vigorous motions..

    Readers might like to check the kind of dry cleaning solvent their cleaners are using; perhaps, the latter are still unaware of the perchloroethylene hazards to health and the environment. As a matter of fact, perc is seriously being considered for phase out; hence, it would be best to look up green dry cleaning outlets that are now using green solutions to eliminate perc emissions.