Over 80% of dry cleaners in the United States use percholorethylene (PERC) in their cleaning process. PERC is a dangerous chemical that can cause cancer, create breathing and heart problems and damage the environment. Even small leaks of PERC can be hazardous.
It is important that PERC-using dry cleaning facilities minimize their PERC emissions through regular inspection, and prompt repairs of leaks. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency regulates PERC usage and will help owners and operators of dry cleaning facilities learn how to properly inspect and check for leaks in a few easy steps.
To make sure you and your employees are safe from dangerous PERC emissions, and to follow the law, just remember: Inspect, Repair and Record.
- Every two weeks, inspect for leaks around machines using PERC.
- Use an approved PERC leak detector
- Test the PERC detector to make sure it is working properly. Step away from the dry cleaning unit, take the detector out of its case and turn it on. Hold the tip of the sensor about one inch away from alcohol to see if it reacts.
- If it doesn’t react, you may need to replace the sensor
- When it does react, you can proceed with your inspection
- Make sure your machinery is running and on the “dry” cycle
- Place the tip of the detector within one inch of the machinery
- Move the detector tip slowly around the gaskets, seals, hose and pipe connections, fitting, couplings, valves, door gaskets, filter gaskets and pump
- If you find a leak, make sure to note the location, and have it repaired within 24 hours
- If parts must be ordered, you may have some extra time to finish repairs
- Keep track of all self-inspection dates (every 2 weeks), repairs, purchases, and person doing the inspections in your log.
- Please keep this log in your shop at all times. Inspectors will check the log when they make they inspect your business.