Perc has been linked to cancer.

When a longtime dry cleaning operation in Little Chute shut down after almost 50 years in business, the real work started.

That’s because the owners left not only decaying machinery at the downtown facility, but high levels of tetrachloroethylene, a popular dry cleaning chemical commonly known as “perc.”

Perc is a colorless liquid and sometimes called “dry-cleaning fluid.” It has a sweet odor detectable by most people and it can cause a reaction in people who are chemically sensitive.

NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) considers the chemical a possible carcinogen.

The site needed official remediation services by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which cleaned up the contaminated soil and groundwater.

This is certainly not a unique example of perc contamination caused by dry cleaners.

The use of perc is widespread. While it is slowly being phased out, between 65 and 70 percent of the country’s estimated 25,000 dry-cleaning facilities still use the solvent, industry representatives have said.

Many businesses have been operating since before environmentally safe waste disposal regulations existed and it was a common practice to dump the cleaning chemical in the backyard or down the drain.

Often, the contaminated soil needs to be dug up and replaced with clean dirt.

Source: Post Crescent article

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