Indeed, it is nice to have something fresh and clean and ready to wear from the dry cleaners…but then again, there is that peculiar smell…not quite fresh and in fact, perhaps a little disturbing. Well it turns out (surprise, surprise) that is should be disturbing, because it just may well cause cancer, along with a spew of other health concerns.
A recent study from the National Academy of Science states “Tetrachloroethylene — also known as perchloroethylene, PCE, or PERC — is a dry-cleaning solvent that is found as a contaminant in the air, groundwater, surface waters, and soil. In humans it can damage the nervous and reproductive systems, liver, and kidneys and is a likely carcinogen. People are mostly exposed to PERC by breathing it in the air, but exposure can also occur by ingestion or skin contact’. (For complete press release go to:http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12863)
Newer methods are slowing evolving but 90% of dry cleaners currently use PERC. You best options are to:
1: avoid clothing that requires dry cleaning
or in the case that just must have that cashmere or oh so sharp 3 piece…
2: find an eco cleaner
The following site has a data base of eco cleaners! http://nodryclean.com/
Remember though, even the eco cleaners require a lot of energy etc.(check out this video on the eco cleaning process, it is a bit cheesy but will give you a good grip on the process: http://video.about.com/greenliving/The-Green-Dry-Cleaning-Method.htm) so you’re better off finding those sweet things that prefer to be washed at home!