We've all heard that dry-cleaning is bad for the environment, not only that, it's not good for us either! If all those harsh chemicals are infecting our environment, then what are they doing to us?
Perchloroethylene (also known as tetrachloroethylene, perc, or PCE) is a solvent used by 90% of dry cleaning businesses in the United States. PCE is a highly effective cleaning agent, although it can result in color bleeding or loss if not used properly. However, PCE is also toxic and causes several harmful side effects.
Some studies have indicated that PCE can cause menstrual irregularities, fertility problems, and spontaneous abortions among women who work in the dry cleaning industry. PCE residue from dry cleaning processes can also seep into drinking water, causing a variety of health complications. One of these concerns links back to cancer, as it has been named a “probable carcinogen” by the International Association for Research on Cancer.
On the upside, there are eco-friendly dry-cleaners popping up all over the country! While researching alternative cleaning methods, hydrocarbon solvents such as EcoSolv (developed by Chevron-Phillips) have been developed to work much like standard dry cleaning agents, without the harmful side effects.
The folks over at Low Impact Living
have made it easy to find an eco-friendly dry-cleaner near you, just type in your zip code here