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Dry cleaning is not considered an environmentally friendly practice, because of the widespread use of the chemical perchloroethylene (also called perc). According to the Occidental College’s Pollution Prevention Center, 85 percent of the more than 35,000 dry cleaners in the US still use this harmful chemical, which is used as a solvent in the dry cleaning process. Studies have shown that workers exposed to perc routinely either through inhalation or skin contact are at a much higher risk for adverse health affects. Perc has been linked to increased risks of bladder, esophageal, and cervical cancer, eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, and reduced fertility, among other effects.

Even bringing clothes cleaned with perc back to your home exposes you to the dangerous chemical, because once home and out of the bag, the toxin is released into the air. Because of this having your closed cleaned in the conventional manner is not advised. Read below for information on alternatives to conventional dry cleaning and tips for greener dry cleaning.
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