The holidays are a comin’, and you’re prepping your wardrobe. You can’t bear to put your daughter’s darling silk lehnga (or that Burberry dress that you just had to buy for her) in the wash – so you are off to your local dry cleaners. But wait – all dry cleaners are not the same. Read on.
As an attorney who practiced in environmental law for 6 years, I know enough about dry cleaning to be wary. Most dry cleaners (even some “organic” dry cleaners) use the solvent perchloroethylene – or “perc” for short – to clean garments. Perc is regulated by EPA as a Toxic Air Contaminant and is also classified as a possible carcinogen. If perc is not properly disposed of, it can contaminate soil and groundwater. Many Superfund sites are contaminated with perc. In short, it’s bad stuff.
So why do most dry cleaners (85% according to recent data) still use it? Because they can get away with it. Some states (MA, NJ, NY, TX) are trying to ban perc, and California passed a ban in 2003 (which really won’t take effect until 2020).
Now with all that’s documented about perc, I wouldn’t want it used on my clothes – let alone on my kids’ clothes. But there are alternatives. One of them is Green Earth Cleaning - a company which manufactures a liquid silicon solution, a (reportedly) safe substance. There are about 1500 dry cleaners across the US that use Green Earth. You can see if there’s one in your area (and learn more about dry cleaning) by going to the company’s website: www.greenearthcleaning.com.
I even trusted my prized white Cologne & Cotton duvet to my local Green Earth cleaner – with fantastic results.
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