I’m not talking about how much it costs to get your clothes cleaned, but the health risks associated with the chemicals used in dry cleaning.

It is estimated that 85% of cleaners in the US use a chemical called perchloroethylene (or PERC, for short) as a solvent in the dry cleaning process.  PERC has been shown to cause a number of health concerns.  According to the EPA breathing PERC for a short periods of time can adversely affect the human nervous system.  Effects range from dizziness, fatigue, headaches and sweating to in-coordination and unconsciousness.  Also, nursing mothers exposed to PERC may excrete it in their milk, placing their infants at risk.

What are your options?

For the busy person who needs their clothes cleaned in a timely fashion, hand washing may not be practical.  Luckily there are cleaners that do not use PERC during the cleaning process.  Be careful, there are a number of cleaners who advertise that they are “green” or “eco-friendly,” that doesn’t mean that they are not use PERC.  You have to ask your cleaners specifically if they use PERC.

When I first moved to Indy I found some information on EPAs website stating that Curley’s Cleaners on Illinois was a PERC free cleaners.  I learned this was not the case after speaking to them.  Luckily,  I recently found out that Meridian Heights cleaners in Meridian Kessler (49th and Penn) is a PERC-free facility.  At this point Meridian Heights is the only PERC-free cleaners in the Indianapolis area that I’m aware of and lucky for me it is  right between my house and my office.