Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007 | On Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007 writer Rob Davis wrote an important and well researched article on pollution in our neighborhoods. This is follow-up information to that article.

When customers pick up their garments at the local dry cleaner they expect their clothes to be free of stains. What consumers don’t expect is exposure to a cancer-causing chemical when entering the store, opening their closet, and wearing their clothes. The dry cleaning industry uses a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene, also known as “perc.” This toxic chemical contaminates our air and water and endangers workers and families exposed to it daily.

On Jan. 25th, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) board members will vote on a proposal to phase out perc. If approved as is, a full phase out will leave many Californians exposed to this carcinogen for as long as15 years.

There are 3 steps the ARB can strengthen its proposed amendments to the Dry Cleaning ATCM, including:

1. Phase out perc in 10 years, not 15. (Most industry data shows that perc dry cleaning systems have a life expectancy of 10 years.)

2. Also phase out dry cleaning systems that use hydrocarbon solvents which cause smog.

3. Require perc dry cleaners that are within 300 feet of residential areas, schools, medical facilities and other “sensitive” sites to switch to non-toxic methods by 2010.

(Your readers can ask the state Air Resources Board to take these three actions by visiting their website and sending a comment to ARB.)

The ARB Board Members have an excellent opportunity to set the example to the rest of the country and stop exposing workers, consumers, and community members to this dangerous toxic chemical.

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