Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The next time you retrieve that suit from the dry cleaner’s, consider that you may be picking up more than you dropped off. Clinging to most freshly dry-cleaned clothing are traces of perchloroethylene, a chlorine- based compound used by 90 percent of all dry cleaners. Listed by the EPA as a hazardous air pollutant and a “probable human carcinogen,” perc has also been linked to neurological damage and reproductive disorders.

The largest consumers of perc, dry cleaners use an estimated 250 million pounds of the compound annually. While exposure to contaminated garments poses minimal health risks, a more serious threat from perc exists in our air, food, and water. Both the production and incineration fo this organochlorine create hundreds of toxic byproducts, and flushing perc into the sewer system contaminates groundwater supplies. Environmentalists are clamoring for a phase-out of this dirty cleaning solvent.

The enviros offer an alternative to perc, dubbed “GreenClean,” based on water, natural soaps, head, steam, and skilled labor. In addition to eco-dry cleaning’s obvious benefit–it doesn’t pump toxins into the environment–GreenClean offers a number of advantages, according to Greenpeace analysts:

Better Results:
EPA data and consumer surveys show GreenClean equals or outperforms perc.
More Jobs:
Because GreenClean relies on individual treatment of garments, it requires a 21 percent increase in labor–a cost offset by reductions in other operating expenses, such as chemical costs and hazardous waste disposal fees.
Increased Profit:
EPA numbers show that GreenClean operations require a 41 percent lower investment than traditional setups and yield a 5 percent higher profit.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate