As a third-generation dry cleaner in Los Angeles for more than 17 years, I take strong offense (at) Rose-Marie Turk's article "A Clean Conscience" (March 1). As a member of the Greater Los Angeles Dry Cleaners Assn., where we discussed this article at length at a recent meeting, I speak for hundreds of dry cleaners in the Los Angeles area.
Although once justified to an extent, people's fears (about) the effects of "perchloroethylene touching their skin, polluting the air and contaminating ground water" are now based on myths, misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the dry-cleaning process.
First, and most important, is the issue of perchloroethylene (perc), the solvent used for 99% of all general dry cleaning.
Over the past several years, the Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a variety of control technique guidelines for perc. These guidelines work hand in hand with recent regulations set up and enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to protect workers from any perc fumes.
The EPA's newest regulation, regarding the disposal of perc waste products, went into effect Jan. 1. The waste produced from filtering and distilling perc is no longer allowed to go down the drain or into a Dumpster. Now the waste must be collected and stored in above-ground drums and hauled off by a professional hazardous waste company on a regular basis. The result is that perc now poses no threat to our ground water or our landfills.