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A & P2 for Garment Cleaning - New Jersey

Organization(s) New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description PCE-based dry cleaning is now subject to increased regulation by a wide range of federal, state, regional, and local agencies. However, such regulations are difficult to enforce in an industry dominated by thousands of small shops with a high percentage of ownership among recent immigrants. Because of ongoing issues with non-compliance and public health risk, and the increasing availability of alternatives, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) has recently proposed rules that would limit and ultimately phase out PCE dry cleaning in the State.

This regulatory pressure has pushed the 1,200 dry cleaners in New Jersey toward other solvents, especially those promoted as drop–in replacements for PCE, notably n-propyl bromide (nPB). N-propyl bromide has neurotoxic effects and known teratogenic concerns. The carcinogenic effects are currently under study. A recent case of nPB poisoning of a New Jersey dry cleaner operator has highlighted health concerns with this and other alternative solvents. In addition, machine manufacturers recommend that waste from nPB dry cleaning be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Professional wet cleaning appears to be the most environmentally preferable economic choice for garment care professionals. To promote the growth of professional wet cleaning in New Jersey, the NJ DEP in cooperation with the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) has successfully applied for a pollution prevention grant with EPA Region 2 to support an initiative that builds on the successful California Professional Wet Cleaning Commercialization Project. Educational materials comparing the benefits of wet cleaning to solvent cleaning will be prepared and distributed. Existing wet cleaning facilities in New Jersey will be recruited to demonstrate the process to dry cleaners. Additional workshops will be held to provide education and outreach. Wet cleaning equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and installers will be contacted to provide technical assistance and financial incentives to potential wet cleaner operators. New facilities will receive assistance in exchange for hosting a demonstration for fellow cleaners and other stakeholders.

Project Contact
Name Michael DiGiore
Phone 609-777-0518
Project Keywords
Industrial Sectors Garment Cleaning
Activity Keywords Policy/Legislative
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 18 No. 2, Fall 2008 [PDF]


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