1 2 3 4

You are here


In 2008 the state of California ruled that all dry cleaners must stop using perchloroethylene (also known as PERC) by 2023. El Rancho Cleaners has always cared about your health and have never used the cancer causing agent.


PERC, a chemical known as perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene, is the solvent used by 85% of dry cleaners in the United States and is a “likely human carcinogen,” according to the National Academy of Sciences. PERC is used in degreasers as well as in the production of other chemicals and can be found in the air, drinking water, and soil. Varying levels of PERC has been detected in breast milk and human blood.

EPA Suggest PERC is a Carcinogen

The Environmental Protection Agency suggested in 2008 that PERC be classified a “likely human carcinogen” and found that PERC can cause nervous system and brain damage. There is strong evidence that PERC can cause cancer in animals even if there is not strong evidence that it causes cancer in humans. The Environmental Protection Agency set safe exposure levels well below levels that cause damage. Before finalizing the ruling, the National Academy of Sciences was asked by the Environmental Protection Agency to review it’s PERC risk analysis and the National Academy of Sciences agreed with the findings.

National Academy of Sciences Agrees

The National Academy of Sciences stated that the Environmental Protection Agency’s method for evaluating PERC was basically sound. “The Environmental Protection Agency was commended for doing a thorough job”, said Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, a toxicologist at the University of North Carolina. He stated that the opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency committee was on target.

Dry Cleaners Might See Stricter Policies

A complaint the National Academy of Sciences had with the Environmental Protection Agency was that they relied too much on a single study in setting safe concentration levels. The Environmental Protection Agency stated that a safe PERC concentration level is 2 parts per billion but the National Academy of Sciences committee used several different studies and calculated a higher level between 6 and 50 parts per billion. Rusyn stated that it was an “immaterial” difference. The National Academy of Sciences offered no policy advice on the use of PERC by the dry cleaning industry as policies are for the Environmental Protection Agency, Congress and states to pass.

California Banned PERC

In 2007 California passed a law banning PERC by the year 2023 and will require dry cleaning machines 15 years old removed by July 1, 2010. At present, no PERC machines can be used in buildings shared with residents in California.