A Virginia high school student’s science project, supervised by a Georgetown University lab and published in a peer-reviewed journal, revealed that perchloroethylene (perc) stays in fabric and that levels increase with repeat dry cleaning. It’s something to think about when baby buries her face in your sweater.
Perc is linked to cancer and neurological damage. It’s a common groundwater contaminant. Guidelines and regulations exist for workplace exposure, but a phase-out plan has not yet been established.
CO2 cleaning is a safe alternative. It effectively cleans dirt and stains, and it flushes out the harmful chemicals that traditional dry cleaning leaves in your clothes.
If you do not have access to CO2 cleaning, dry clean your clothing as infrequently as possible. Perc off-gasses and pollutes your air, so don’t leave dry-cleaned items in the car with the windows closed. At home, remove the plastic and hang clothes outdoors or in a well-ventilated space before putting them in your dresser or closet.