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New York City Mandates Dry Cleaners to Disclose Chemicals Used

Staff Writer |

About 1,400 businesses to be affected by rule effective February 2014

NEW YORK — Beginning next February, New York City dry cleaners will be required to disclose to consumers the primary chemicals used in their dry cleaning process, says the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

About 1,400 dry cleaning businesses throughout the Big Apple will be required to list the chemicals and a link to information about their health effects, so that consumers can access their potential impact.

DEP will work with affected businesses over the next year to implement the new rule ahead of the enforcement date.

“The local dry cleaner is an essential part of life for most New Yorkers, and it is important that information about all the chemicals used by these businesses is available,” says DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “At virtually no cost to businesses, this rule will ensure that this important public health information is available to the public.”

DEP developed the new disclosure rule in close consultation with the National Cleaners Association (NCA) and other industry groups. Nora Nealis, NCA executive director, says her organization “was pleased to work cooperatively with DEP to develop a strategy for educating consumers about the new cleaning solutions being used in the dry cleaning industry, and we applaud DEP’s investment in developing a consumer-friendly website to answer that challenge.”

Dry cleaners that use perc are required to post an informational sign that provides contact information to report odors and other problems, the DEP says. The notice also lists where additional information can be found about the potential health effects of perc exposure.

Some dry cleaners have more recently promoted the use of non-perc chemicals but these cleaning agents may also have health risks.

The cost of compliance is minimal or non-existent, according to DEP; dry cleaners simply have to fill out and print the applicable forms from the DEP website and post it in their business.

The draft form for perc dry cleaners is available here.

The draft form for non-perc dry cleaners is available here.

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