Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Dry Cleaning Solvents

Dry Cleaning Solvents

Homeland Security: Threats to the Sustainability, Safety and Security of North Carolina's Food and Water

BREDL Report - Homeland Security: Threats to the Sustainability, Safety and Security of North Carolina's Food and Water
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This is a BREDL presentation by Duke University Stanback Intern Wendy Shi.

BREDL Presentation

BREDL Presentation: PERC: “Still toxic after all these years”
Contaminated Dry Cleaning Sites in NC

Powerpoint Presentation | PDF format

BREDL Brochure

Feb. 2010: Phase-out PERC Now - brochure highlighting adverse effects from the dry cleaning solvent Perchloroethylene, emphasis on Durham County, NC impacts

Aug. 12, 2009: League launches state-wide campaign to involve communities in safe cleanup of dry cleaning sites - 42 North Carolina Counties have contaminated soil and groundwater: Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League launched a statewide community-centered campaign to ensure the public is involved with cleanup of dry-cleaning contaminated sites. The League’s goals include educating residents about the dangers of toxic dry cleaning solvents, securing community level influence on state decision making, and protecting water quality and human health. The League is working with their network of chapters and organizing new community groups located near these contaminated dry cleaning sites. BREDL Press Release

PERC Pollution at Peach Orchard Road - Toxic soil, water and air are a health hazard
April 2009: Ten years ago the Georgia Environmental Protection Division investigated the area near Peach Orchard, Lumpkin and Old Savannah roads and found widespread contamination. The pollutants they uncovered include PCE, TCE and vinyl chloride. These are toxic chemicals. For example, PCE, also known as perchloroethylene or PERC, can cause liver damage, kidney damage and cancer. View BREDL Factsheet

To everyone in North Carolina concerned about our future!

Sign-on Letter

The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission is about to carve a loophole in North Carolina environmental law. Approval of a pending rule would create an exception for special interests now and a precedent for more exemptions in the future.

Is there a dry-cleaning business in your community? The dry-cleaning industry and their supporters have drafted a new rule which would leave excessive amounts of toxic solvents in the soil and groundwater, not only at hundreds of commercial dry-cleaning sites but on neighboring property, too. Why? They want to reduce their clean-up costs. We think polluters should abide by existing laws which require groundwater to be safe enough to drink, the highest standard for public health protection.

We can stop the erosion of public health protection and the chipping away of environmental laws. Please add your name and organizational affiliation to our letter to be delivered to the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, the state's rule-making body. Help us stop a proposed rule change which would allow contaminated dry-cleaning sites to remain polluted.

We want to have as many people as possible sign on before the upcoming meeting of the NC Environmental Management Commission on July 12. So feel free to pass the word. People should sign on by sending their name and address to With enough people from enough areas of the state, we can convince the Commission to heed our request. We will hand deliver it to the EMC at 9:00 AM Thursday, July 12, 2007.
Sign-on Letter

According to the Dry-cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program’s 2006 Annual Report to the General Assembly, the state has identified 225 operating or abandoned dry-cleaning facilities in 46 counties with environmental contamination caused by dry-cleaning solvent. A total of 29 new dry-cleaning solvent releases were reported to in 2005. There are approximately 700 operating retail dry-cleaning establishments in North Carolina today. As many as 1,500 contaminated dry-cleaning sites may exist in North Carolina.

Rules Proposed for Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup in North Carolina
Comment deadline June 15, 2007
Send your comments to:

These rules would establish a risk-based approach to groundwater and soil remediation under the North carolina Dry-cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of sites in North Carolina are contaminated with the toxic dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene. The questions are: What shall we do about it? How much will it cost? Who will pay? and How can we prevent this problem from happening again?

The Dry-cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act is being used as the vehicle for continued contamination of air, soil, water and clothing with toxic perchloroethylene. Approval of the rules as drafted would create a loophole in the existing NC groundwater standards. The rule would allow flawed methods of remediation.

We oppose risk-based regulation because it plays chemical roulette with our health. Substitution of the precautionary approach for a risk-based one would help to correct the failures of the current regulatory system.

Further, safe and economical alternatives for cleaning clothing are commercially available which do not use toxic perchloroethylene. We advocate the complete elimination of perchloroethylene as a dry cleaning solvent.

May 3, 2007: Read BREDL's Comments and additional comments on Rules Proposed for Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup

Aug. 15, 2001: "A Study of Dry Cleaning Solvents and Clothing: Source of Dioxin Exposure?" - a report by the Clean Water World Initiative. The report finds that dry-cleaning solvents and brand-new as well as dry-cleaned clothes are contaminated with dioxins. (posted 10/29/01)

Dec. 15, 1999 - BREDL's comments and recommendations on minimum management practices for Dry Cleaning Solvent Perchloroethylene

Perchloroethylene phase out recommendations to Dry-Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act of 1997 Working Group