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Reducing Drycleaning Employee Exposure to Perchloroethylene

In this article, we’re going to explore the chemical of Perchloroethylene, or “perc,” which a commonly used solvent in today’s drycleaning businesses.  While it’s effective in the industry, repeated exposure to its vapors, as well as spilling it on the skin, can pose some significant health effects worth addressing.  To protect your employees and ensure a safe workplace, read on to discover how to manage and reduce their exposure to perc, and secure your operation with a customized and comprehensive FabriCare Insurance Program.

What are the primary sources of perc exposure?

Routine tasks and machine maintenance are the main culprits for perc exposure.  Some of the following are common tasks associated with elevated levels of perc:

  • Lint and button trap cleaning
  • Taking bulky items out of the dryer before the cycle has completed
  • Handling solvent-laden clothing
  • Handling hazardous waste
  • Replacing the solvent filter

Machine emissions.

Uncontrolled emissions, also called “fugitive emissions,” from drycleaning machines can also expose workers to high levels of perc.  These include:

  • Perc emissions not captured by vapor recovery and thus released when the holding door is opened or through the vent.
  • Perc emissions from leaks in machine valves, hoses, vents and ducts.

What are the health hazards of perc?

The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) has deemed perc a “potential occupational carcinogen.”  Avoiding prolonged exposure while breathing it in and preventing skin contact with perc are two ways to avoid the following health hazards:

  • Dizziness, lack of coordination and balance.
  • Mild memory loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Skin blistering and redness after contact with skin

About Irving Weber Associates

At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful Dry Cleaner or Laundromat business, including investing in a comprehensive FabriCare Insurance Program to ensure that you are financially protected against legal claims.  Our program includes specialty coverages including Environmental and General Liability, Property, Pollution Liability, Boiler & Machinery, Business Auto, and many more.  For a detailed look at how we can safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at 855-661-4557.

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