Who doesn’t love putting on their finest garments that have been freshly cleaned and pressed by the dry cleaner??? I sure do! But in my studies and additional research I have learned that many dry cleaners are using some HEAVY DUTY SOLVENTS in the cleaning process. Amongst the most commonly used solvent is tetracholoroethylene a.k.a perchloroethylene.
Perchloroethylene has been classified as a Group 2A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer in humans. WHAT!!!! So why is this solvent so widely used? And why is it being used to clean my clothes? Well, it’s good at removing grease from clothing, it’s non-flammable, and also helps to reduce any shrinking of the fabric. But what about the fact that it’s a potential carcinogen? My guess is simply that it’s probably affordable and there haven’t been enough long-term studies done on dry cleaner consumers. The link to cancer development has been most commonly seen in dry cleaner workers as they are in constant contact with the solvent. But, who is to say that the average patron isn’t absorbing some of the solvents themselves?
Now, being a slightly financially strapped med student, taking my garments to an organic dry cleaner isn’t an option at this point (adding it to my goals list!). So when I pick up my clothes from the cleaners I refrain from putting them into my closet for a few days and allowing them to hang out somewhere that is well-ventilated.
So don’t fret, just hang those dry-cleaned clothes in some area of your home that has good ventilation and they’ll be ready for you to rock in a few days!
Best in Health!