||The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Program will consider designating PCE as a higher hazard substance in the fall of 2008. This means that facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use PCE above 1,000 pounds per year and employ 10 or more full-time employees, would become part of the TURA Program and be required to submit toxics use reports, pay fees, and complete a toxics use reduction plan. Amendments to the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) adopted in 2006 allow the TURA program to designate up to 10 higher hazard substances per year. In December 2007, the TURA Administrative Council, a six-member body composed of representatives from several Massachusetts government agencies, designated trichloroethylene (TCE), cadmium, and cadmium compounds as Massachusetts' first higher hazard substances.
A higher hazard designation for PCE would bring a number of facilities, including some dry cleaners, into the TURA Program for the first time. Thus, it would create new opportunities for promotion of safer alternatives to PCE in the dry cleaning sector. Many dry cleaners would remain exempt because facilities with fewer than 10 full-time employees are not subject to TURA. However, the statute provides the option of eliminating the 10-employee threshold in the future if the program designates a "priority user segment." As the TURA Administrative Council considers designating PCE as a higher hazard substance, they must evaluate whether TURA is the best policy tool to accomplish toxics use reduction for this sector.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) works closely with dry cleaners through its Environmental Results Program (ERP), an environmental performance initiative that replaces facility-specific state permits with industry-wide environmental performance standards and annual compliance certifications. This Program has brought garment cleaners into compliance with existing regulations, improved communication with cleaners, and facilitated information gathering about this sector. ERP data show that in 2006, facilities used 781,537 pounds of PCE and generated 475,286 pounds of hazardous waste - a 60 percent decline in use and 57 percent decline in waste generation from 1997. As Massachusetts garment cleaners shift away from using PCE, providing timely technical assistance in identifying and adopting the best alternatives is particularly important.
The MA TURA Program offers technical assistance to facilities by analyzing alternatives with the fewest health and environmental concerns while considering short and long term costs. Concurrent with efforts to address PCE at the policy level, the MA TURA Program is working with garment cleaners to adopt safer alternatives to PCE. Activities have included the following:
-MA Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) sponsored a wet cleaning demonstration day in Lowell in October 2007. At this event, dry cleaners had the opportunity to view wet cleaning equipment first hand and to talk with dry cleaners from California that use the equipment in their facilities.
-MA TURI provided a $17,000 grant in fiscal year 2008 to Silver Hanger Cleaners in Bellingham, MA, enabling the facility to make the transition from PCE to 100 percent wet cleaning. In fiscal year 2009, this facility will host demonstration events to help other cleaners to learn about the technology. TURI expects to provide a similar grant to another cleaner in 2009.