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Dry Cleaner Risk Management: Recognizing Pollution Hazards

Dry Cleaner Risk Management: Recognizing Pollution Hazards

As professionals in the dry cleaning industry, your clients face many unique risks. The dry cleaning process involves the use of solvents and detergents, rather than water, to remove dirt from textiles. The detergents, bleaches, and other solvents that are used in laundry and drycleaning processes are all toxic and many are harmful to the environment. The land surrounding your clients’ property as well as the water supply can be easily contaminated by accidental spillage or inappropriate storage of the chemicals in which they use. It’s important for your clients to keep this in mind when developing dry cleaner risk management strategies.

The most toxic solvent that is used in the dry cleaning process is called Tetrachloroethylene, which is also known as Perchloroethlene, more commonly referred to as Perc. It is particularly difficult to remove from the environment and over time it degrades into a potent carcinogen. Perc is heavier than water, so it sinks to the bottom of the body of water it is in. So, if it’s in groundwater, it will work its way down until it contaminates the deeper aquifers from which wells typically draw their water, which results in a major contamination situation.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Perc exposure can not only affect groundwater, but also the air, putting workers at risk as well as those individuals who may live above or adjacent to your clients’ dry cleaning facilities. The good news is though, an appropriate dry cleaner risk management plan can help your clients to potentially reduce the risks of Perc exposure.

Good housekeeping measures can greatly decrease the amount of wastes that are generated. For example, your clients should keep tight fitting lids and stoppers on containers to prevent loss of chemicals through evaporation or spillage. Also, dry cleaners should use spigots and pumps when dispensing new materials and funnels when transferring wastes to storage containers to reduce the possibility of spills.

Maintenance and preventive maintenance tasks that your clients can also perform include; periodically replacing the seals on the dryer deodorizer and aeration valves, the door gasket on the button trap, and the gasket on the cleaning machine door, repairing holes in air and exhaust ducts, checking hose connections, and cleaning lint screens to avoid clogging fans.

The FabriCare Advantage Program from Irving Weber Associates, Inc. (IWA) was developed to offer your Drycleaning clients Dry Cleaner Risk Management Strategies, Dry Cleaner Pollution Liability Insurance, and more. Please contact us today at (855) 764-7406 to learn more about our company and other products we offer.