5starcleaners.org is committed to offering the highest quality, Planet Friendly cleaning business in town. We use wind power, biodegradable soaps, solvents and plastic, reusable garment bags, recycle plastics, hangers, and much more. As friends, neighbors, and employers we feel it is our responsibility to be conscientious citizens…because we care.
We are completely Perc free:
Perchloroethylene (Perc) Used in almost all Dry Cleaning Operations:
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 or wearing their clothes. The dry cleaning industry uses a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene, which is also known as “perc.” In the late 1970s, increasing evidence demonstrated that perc used by professional dry cleaners was harmful to human health and the environment. Today, this toxic chemical contaminates our air and water and endangers workers and families exposed to it daily.
Perc causes cancer and other health problems:
California Proposition 65 has classified perc as a chemical known to cause cancer.
Perc can also cause: cracking or irritation of the skin; irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth, throat and lungs; burns; headaches; dizziness; nausea; fainting; coughing; fluid buildup in the lungs; and damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, and reproductive system.
Perc contaminates the air we breathe and the water we drink:
Statewide, the dry cleaning industry emits 222,000 gallons, or about 3 million pounds of perc per year. Based on an estimate from perc manufacturers, about 80 percent of the perc sold in California is used for dry cleaning operations. In addition, perc is estimated to have contaminated 1 in 10 public drinking wells in California. Typically, cleaners are neighborhood based and located in relatively populated areas. This harmful solvent is used by over 85% of dry cleaners in California, and it harms shop employees.
Perc Use is an Environmental Justice Issue
Small business owners and employees are on the front lines of exposure to this toxic substance. Korean-Americans represent a large portion of professional cleaners in the United States, especially prevalent in large cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. In California, as many as 50% of the shops are owned or operated by Korean-Americans. Also, in southern California, Latinos, Asians and other minorities are a significant percentage of the workforce in the dry cleaning industry.
It is crucial that these communities have language-appropriate resources available to them so that they are able to understand the occupational hazards of perc exposure and how to access state grants to phase out the use of the chemical.