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RES gains official support for ban on dry cleaning chemical

The Paris City Council on Monday passed a unanimous motion in favour of gradually replacing the use of perchlorethylene by dry cleaners, considered a "probable carcinogen", in favour of "alternative technologies".

"Perchloroethylene is a solvent used in 90% of dry cleaning of clothing and home textiles in France. Its toxicity is known: probably carcinogenic, it harms the kidneys and nervous system, " Green politicians of Paris said.

Its vapours "may migrate through the concrete and the floors and expose people to irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and sometimes even lead to unconsciousness and death ", they recalled in a statement.

In Nice, 70 year-old Jose Anne Bernard who lived above a dry cleaners, is likely to have died in December 2009 as a result of exposure, they said.

"Countries like the United States and Denmark have already programmed for 2020 abandonment of perchlorethylene and prohibit the installation of new dry cleaners using this solvent," said Denis Baupin, deputy mayor in charge of Environment.

Mr. Baupin welcomed the fact that, "like in Bisphenol bottles, the city plays its role as whistleblower and precursor when the state is conspicuously absent ".

Environmentalists are seeking "the development of awareness and training for professionals, assistance with conversion technology, monitoring of the quality air and the exposure of workers and residents."

The product, banned in new facilities in Denmark and the United States, is a solvent used for dry cleaning. Listed since 1995 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a probable human carcinogen, it can have neurological effects and impact on the kidneys and liver.

Original Press release from RES (in French) 19 mars 2012: Conseil de Paris : vœu à l’unanimité pour l’abandon du perchloroéthylène dans les pressings

Last updated on 5 April 2012

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