More Information About PERC/DRY CLEANING
VIRGINIA TECH GUNMAN ---- HIS EXPOSURE TO PERC SINCE CHILDHOOD COULD BE THE CAUSE OF HIS MENTAL DERANGEMENT
Tetrachloroethylene probably depresses the CNS through a solvent effect on lipids and protein components of neural membranes. It defats the skin, causing redness, blistering, and scaling. Organ damage, primarily liver and kidney, may occasionally be seen. CNS effects appear immediately during and following exposure, while organ damage may be delayed for hours to days. Most inhaled or ingested tetrachloroethylene leaves the body unchanged in exhaled air. Only 1% to 3% is metabolized (though there is considerable individual variation), and residual organ damage is not commonly observed.
Children do not always respond to chemicals in the same way that adults do. Different protocols for managing their care may be needed.
Tetrachloroethylene causes dose-related CNS and respiratory depression, but transient initial CNS excitation can also occur. Symptoms can include irritability, impaired coordination, lightheadedness, headache, slurred speech, malaise, nausea, ataxia, sedation, coma, and death. Sublethal CNS effects generally resolve quickly when the victim is removed from further exposure, but may be delayed due to fat uptake. CNS effects can also be prolonged following ingestion exposure.
A CBS PIECE ON THE DANGERS OF PERC
According to the EPA's Web site, "Breathing PERC for short periods of time can adversely affect the human nervous system. Effects range from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and sweating, to incoordination and unconsciousness. Contact with PERC vapor irritates the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. These effects are not likely to occur at levels of PERC that are normally found in the environment. Breathing PERC over longer periods of time can cause liver and kidney damage in humans. Workers repeatedly exposed to large amounts of PERC in air can also experience memory loss and confusion. Laboratory studies show that PERC causes kidney and liver damage and cancer in animals exposed repeatedly by inhalation and by mouth. Repeat exposure to large amounts of PERC in air may likewise cause cancer in humans."
You may have gotten a whiff of PERC's strong, fresh scent at your cleaners but, once PERC evaporates into the air, you can't always smell it.
Mickelson had no idea her home was so contaminated until, one day, she literally collapsed from the fumes, and was rushed to the hospital.
"The city Department of Health did tests on us and our neighbors, and it was in our breath and our urine and in my breast milk and my neighbor's breast milk; it was basically everywhere," she says.
Even wearing dry cleaned clothes may put you at risk, Smith observes.
In the first study of its kind, Consumer Reports magazine measured PERC emissions from freshly dry-cleaned blazers and the results, Smith says, were "startling."
The magazine's Jean Halloran says, "We found that there was a small, but definitely increased risk of cancer from wearing freshly dry-cleaned clothes once or twice a week."
The industry calls that junk science.
"When handled properly, PERC is "extremely safe," says Nora Nealis, who runs the National Cleaners Association."
She says studies of workers at dry cleaners have found no increased risk of cancer, even after years of PERC exposure.
"I have friends and neighbors and family members who are in the dry cleaning industry," Nealis adds, "and I have no compunction whatsoever about their health or safety."
But some regulators aren't buying that.
Last month, California became the first state in the nation to ban PERC, calling it a public health threat. They ordered it phased out at dry cleaners over the next 15 years.
California phases out dry-cleaning solvent
SACRAMENTO, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- California is the first state to enact a gradual ban on a dry-cleaning solvent that has been linked to several cancers.
The California Air Resources Board voted 9-0 to ban the purchase of new machines that use the chemical perchloroethylene, or perc, as of 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
All perc machines are to be phased out by 2023.
"It's very important to public health to move in the direction of eliminating perc from dry-cleaning facilities in California. ... But a lot of people are going to be affected by what we do today. There has to be a sense of fairness," said board member Barbara Riordan, one of four board members who voted Thursday against a quicker ban supported by environmental groups, the Times said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a ban on perc machines, instead phasing them out only at dry cleaners in residential buildings.
"Tightening the rules for dry cleaners is an important step in the agency's comprehensive strategy to protect public health. EPA remains committed to the phase-out in residential buildings," spokeswoman Jessica Emond told the Times.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Diamond Bar, CA, which oversees the Los Angeles area, has approved a first-of-its-kind plan to ban the use of the solvent Perchloroethylene (perc) in drycleaners by 2020, despite strong opposition from perc producers. The plan ..
Some studies suggest that repeated, frequent overexposure to some organic solvents over months or years may have long-lasting and possibly permanent effects on the nervous system. The exposure levels at which these effects occur are not known, and the effects have not been studied in workers exposed only to perc.
The symptoms of these long-term effects include fatigue, poor muscle coordination, difficulty in concentrating, loss of short-term memory, and personality changes such as increased anxiety, nervousness and irritability.
By Jamie Reno
Updated: 4:49 p.m. PT Feb 21, 2007
Feb. 21, 2007 - It wasn't exactly "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but when Gordon Shaw appeared last month at the California Air Resources Board meeting in Sacramento to extol the virtues of his environmentally friendly dry-cleaning operation, he spoke with almost Capraesque idealism. "I opened the first 100 percent all-natural liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaner on the West Coast to create a competitive advantage, and to try to positively revolutionize my industry," he told the seven-member board, which monitors California air pollution and related health issues. "I get a tremendous sense of fulfillment as
What are the human health concerns associated with perc?
The extent of any health effects from perc exposure depends on the amount of perc and how long the exposure lasts. People exposed to high levels of perc, even for brief periods, may experience serious symptoms. Those include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, confusion, nausea, and skin, lung, eye and mucous membrane irritation. Repeated exposure to high levels can also irritate the skin, eyes, nose and mouth, and can cause liver damage and respiratory failure. Perc might cause effects at lower levels as well.
Studies in laboratory animals indicate that exposures to high levels of perc can produce effects on the developing fetus that include altered growth, birth defects, and death. While there have been studies of people who are exposed to high levels of perc, the studies are limited and inconclusive. Scientists have not yet determined whether perc exposures can cause such adverse effects in pregnant women as increased incidence of miscarriage or reproductive effects, affect women's fertility, or affect children born to parents exposed to high levels of perc