What is Perc? What are the Risks?

Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, or perc, is a chemical that is widely used in the dry cleaning and soft contents restoration industries. Up to 85% of U.S. dry cleaners use this solvent and it is also used in the cleaning of metal machinery and to manufacture some consumer products and other chemicals.

Perc Cleaning


Perc is a clear, colorless liquid that has a sharp, sweet odor and evaporates quickly. It is an effective cleaning solvent and is used by most professional dry cleaners because it removes stains and dirt from all common types of fabrics. Perc is also a toxic chemical with both human health and environment concerns. While EPA does not believe having your clothes dry cleaned with perc will result in an increased risk for adverse health effects for you or your family, the disposal of this harmful chemical is what raises major concerns.

How is Perc Released into the Environment?

During the cleaning, purification, and waste disposal phases of dry cleaning perc can be released into the air, water and ground.

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Outdoor Air
Perc can escape into the outdoor air through open windows, vents and air-conditioning systems at facilities using perc. Once outdoors, perc can remain in the atmosphere for several weeks. After a few weeks, perc breaks down into other chemicals, some of which are toxic, and some of which are suspected to deplete the ozone layer.

Perc can enter the ground in liquid form through spills, leaky pipes, leaky tanks, machine leaks and from improperly handled waste. Significant amounts of perc have been found in waste resulting from dry cleaning, which is considered hazardous waste by the EPA. Perc is known to be toxic to plants.

Perc can seep through the ground and contaminate surface water, groundwater and potentially drinking water. A small amount of perc can contaminate a large amount of water and people can be exposed by drinking or using the water. EPA has a limit on the amount of perc that is allowed to be in drinking water. Well water can be tested to be sure it is below the EPA standard. Small amounts of perc in the water can be toxic to aquatic animals and can be stored in their fatty tissues.

Is It Safe to Live or Work Near a Dry Cleaning Business?


People who live or work in the same building as a dry cleaner can have greater potential for exposures to perc. High perc levels in residences would be of special concern for occupants who are at home a lot and might be exposed to perc for extended periods of time, such as the elderly, young children, or pregnant women. To address this issues, the EPA finalized a rule under the Clean Air Act in 2006 that requires operators to control perc emissions at individual dry cleaners. The rule includes a phase-out of perc use at dry cleaners located in residential buildings, along with requirements that already have reduced perc emissions at other dry cleaners.

The Esporta Wash System – The Eco-Friendly and Green Approach to Textile Restoration

PRS is perc free

Professional Restoration Services of Tampa Bay, Inc. is a proud owner and operator of an Esporta Wash System. The Esporta Wash System does not use perc or other harmful chemicals during any part of the cleaning process. All of the detergents and disinfecting agents are natural and organic. They are completely safe for the environment and raise no concerns or health risks when emptied into the environment post wash.

esporta h20

In fact, it would be more dangerous for our environment if a can of soda was poured down a drain compared to what is emptied out of the Esporta Wash System after a wash cycle. Not only does the Esporta Wash System bring items back to pre-loss condition, the Esporta Wash System is able to restore a much larger range of items than a dry cleaner is capable of cleaning.

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The Esporta Wash System uses organic products, hydraulic action of the machine, and a specific wash recipe designed to restore items from a leather jacket covered in mold to a stuffed animal covered in smoke/soot. The list of restorable items are endless! Professional Restoration Services of Tampa Bay, Inc. is using their Esporta Wash System to change lives and is doing this all while keeping the environment safe.


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