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National Clothesline
NYC tells cleaners to list solvents
New York city drycleaners have been put on notice that beginning next year they will need to post signs in their stores telling customers about the primary chemicals used in their drycleaning process.
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection said the new requirement will take effect in February, 2014. Over the next ten months, the DEP said it will work with cleaners to begin implementing the new rule ahead of the enforcement date.
Most of the city’s estimated 1,400 cleaners use perc and are already required to post notices that provide contact information to report odors and other problems. The new rule will also require cleaners to provide their DEP permit number and tell the public how to obtain Material Safety Data Sheets for perc.
The sample notice provided by DEP on its web site includes a link to the department’s site where the required information can be found.
Cleaners who use a solvent other than perc will also be covered by the rule, too. They will be required to name their primary cleaning solvent and, like perc cleaners, will need to provide their permit number. Those signs, too, will have a link to the DEP website for MSDS information.
“Recently, drycleaners have been promoting the use of non-perc solvents as environmentally green solvents, but customers typically are not informed about what chemical the drycleaner uses,” DEP says on its web site.
The DEP’s sample posters, which measure 8 1⁄2 by 11 inches, can be downloaded and printed from the DEP web site (www.nyc.gov/dep/drycleanermsds). The cleaner would then fill in the name of the facility and other required information and place the poster “in a conspicuous location.”
DEP said cleaners should be able to satisfy the requirements at “virtually no cost” to themselves.
“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,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland in a press release announcing the action.
The DEP said it worked with the National Cleaners Association to on the program.
“NCA was pleased to work co-operatively 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,” said Nora Nealis, NCA’s executive director.

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