Dry cleaning is not actually dry, but it is the method by which cleaning of fabrics is done with the help of liquid chemicals that help in removing tough stains from various fabrics. PERC is a solvent used in dry cleaning, known as percholroethylene or tetrachloroethylene, it is also used as a metal degreaser and in the manufacturing of many more chemicals. Earlier, carbon tetrachloride was used in dry cleaning, but due to its toxic nature, it was replaced by tetrachlroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene i.e. PERC moreover other chemicals are also used for stain removal are chlorinated liquids, acetic acid, petroleum naptha, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and mineral spirits. Most dry cleaners used PERC solvent, it is a colourless, clear, has sharp and sweet odour which evaporates quickly. It permanently unloads the stain and dirt from the variety of clothes. It is less expensive, efficient solvent that cannot cause shrinkage of clothes, nor dyes to bleed and can also be used again in the cleaning process. But it is a toxic solvent and has significant ill effects on human health. It admits into the human body via breathing and through skin penetration. Its overexposure causes depression, failure of liver and kidneys, skin irritation, damage to respiratory system, memory loss, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and dermatitis, irritation to mucous membranes, nasal passage, skin, eyes, nose and throat. It is a familiar animal carcinogen and also considered as a suspected human carcinogen. Exposure to this chemical through dry cleaning industry or laundry have increased the risk of cancer to the workers as it quickly evaporates, enter into the air of the dry cleaning area and absorbs readily because its vapours can easily pass through the floor, ceiling and even wall materials. Through a dry cleaner shop, surrounding area can be widely contaminated through holes, vents, open windows and air conditioning systems if the cleaner does not follow the proper instructions and safety guidelines.
Who Is At More Risk?
- Although everybody is at higher risk, but the living beings that live near the surrounding of dry cleaners has higher exposure of perc.
- Workers at laundry and dry cleaning area are susceptible to the greater risk of its exposure.
- People who regularly wear dry cleaned clothings. Perc can remain in the dry cleaned clothes as residue.
- Lactating mothers, infants and children are more prone to perc as it has been found in their breast milk that live near dry cleaners.
How To Get Rid Of:
- Always use natural, harmless and green cleaners.
- Stop wearing dry cleaned clothing.
- Always wear cotton clothes as it does not require dry cleaning.
- If necessary, then move to green dry cleaners because they use wet cleaning methods for removing stains from delicate clothing.
- Always get the indoor air tested if you are living nearer to the dry cleaners.