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"Earth Friendly" Dry Cleaning Isn't Necessarily "Health Friendly"

Posted Oct 16 2008 7:58pm 1 Comment

If toxic chemicals in dry cleaning have convinced you to switch to a "greener" cleaner, you my be disappointed to learn that it may not be a healthier choice.

According to Body + Soul, many of the so-called eco-friendly cleaners are still using perchloroethylene, also known as perc, which can cause dizziness and fatigue in addition to being an environmental pollutant.

If you find a perc-free cleaner, you should know that many of the substitutes are still unhealthy. EcoSolv and DF-2000 are petroleum-derived hydrocarbon solvents, which are highly flammable and potentially toxic. Green Earth, aka siloxane, isn't much better. It's been linked to uterine cancers.

The better dry cleaning choice, according to Body + Soul, is to have your clothes dry cleaned using carbon dioxide, which has no known risks and doesn't produce additional greenhouse gases. Check out findco2.com to see if there's a dry cleaner in your area using this method.

The best option, however, is to have your clothes professionally laundered using biodegradable detergents. Some of those "dry-clean-only" labeled clothes can also be cleaned in water. To find out more about this, check out Body + Soul at bodyandsoulmag.com/wetwashing.

Related Article: Lose the Shoes for a Healthier Home

Comments (1)
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Your statement, "Green Earth, aka siloxane, isn't much better. It's been linked to uterine cancers." is not a fair statement. Althouth there is one study that has a slight statistical significance, the data does not suggest that it causes any type of cancer. Get the facts straight. siloxane is leaps and bounds healthier than any other dry cleaning alternative, with the exception of CO2, which there are not very many cleaners using yet. Not only is siloxane healthier for the wearer of the garment, it also is healthier for the workers in the cleaners. It also does not pollute the air or ground water and cause health risks to anyone within a 10 mile radius like PERCs do. I think you should re-word recomendation. Companies like Oxxo provide a dry cleaning service that is much better than the alternative, and should at least be used in transition, while waiting for a CO2 dry cleaner to open in your area. I am an Environmental Health Scientist who has been concerned with the dry cleaning issue for quite a few years now. Please reconsider your article, I think it encourages people to maintain the status quo rather than switch to a profoundly better product for both the environment and human health. PERC storage tanks at dry cleaners are one of the greatest risks to human health that exist right in our neighborhoods.

 Concerned Scientist

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