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Environment

Philadelphia Limits Cleaning Solvents

by Cheryl Hogue
November 29, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 48

Philadelphia is halting the use of two popular solvents—perchloroethylene and n-propyl bromide—at many dry cleaners, under a regulation adopted this month. The new regulation phases out the use of perchloroethylene by Dec. 31, 2013, at any dry-cleaning establishment that shares a wall, ceiling, or floor with any residence, school, or health care facility. The rule also bans the use of n-propyl bromide at any dry cleaner adjacent to these types of facilities. The city’s Air Pollution Control Board says it took the action because of concerns about chronic health problems from exposure to the chemicals and because high levels of the chemicals are found in the air at areas adjacent to dry cleaners. Stand-alone dry-cleaning establishments can continue to use the two chemicals under the new regulation. Dry cleaners that are adjacent to commercial establishments can also continue using the two chemicals if they meet specific ventilation and air-monitoring requirements.

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