Dry Cleaning is a process of cleaning clothing using a chemical solvent instead of water. In Indonesia, 3 out of 4 dry cleaners are still using a toxic dry cleaning solvent called Perchloroethylene (“PERC” / “PCE”).
PERC is a colorless liquid solvent traditionally used by dry cleaners. While PERC is an effective cleaning agent, its toxic nature and the health risks and side effects from using, make it an unideal choice for dry cleaning.
PERC has been classified as a likely carcinogen by the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), and the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), meaning that long term exposure to PERC greatly increases your risk of cancer. Lower levels of PERC exposure can cause respiratory problems and issues with breathing, as well as dizziness and fatigue. PERC is also classified as toxic waste and cannot be disposed of in our water ways.
Although the use of PERC in dry cleaning is not banned in Indonesia, other countries overseas already have regulations in place to protect consumers. In 2011, California was the first state in the United States to ban PERC, due to the alarming risks posed to health. Other states including Texas and New York have also made moves towards banning the use of PERC in dry cleaning. In Europe, PERC has also been phased out in France and Denmark.
How can I be exposed to Perc?
Clothing that has been dry cleaned using PERC will retain traces of the toxic chemical.
PERC is classified as a hazardous air contaminant and breaks down very slowly in the air, meaning that the air in your home will also be contaminated by clothing which has been dry cleaned using PERC and then brought into your home.
Exposure to PERC occurs just by breathing the air in even if there is no dry cleaner nearby.
If your dry cleaner is using PERC, the amount of PERC retained in the garments will depend on the handling of the chemical. Improper handling will increase the amount of PERC retained.
How do I know if my dry cleaner is using PERC?
The best way to find out if your dry cleaner is using PERC on your clothing, is to ask them.
If your dry cleaner is PERC-free, their website, social media accounts and store information will usually reflect this.
Vivaglo is proudly PERC-free and is the first in Indonesia to use the latest generation of alternative dry cleaning solvents, called Intense®. Intense® is the latest development of SEITZ, a highly effective solvent for state-of-the-are textile cleaning and
it is suitable for sensitive, high-quality textiles with applications.
Intense® is also an environmentally neutral solvent. No harmful influences on man or the environment are known. It contains no carcinogenic substances.