California Air Resources Board Report on Dry Cleaning Solvents

California Air Resources Board

Dry Cleaning Notice 2009-2

November 2009

Alternative Solvents Used for Dry Cleaning Operations

This information is not meant to be exhaustive as other solvents may also be available. More information on the alternatives may be found in our March 2008, Fact Sheet titled Dry Cleaning Alternative Solvents: Health and Environmental Impacts located at the following website http://www.arb.gov/toxics/dryclean/pub.htm#fact.

Available Alternative Solvents

Water-Based Cleaning

Water-based cleaning systems use water and detergents to clean garments. In general, detergents are approved for disposal into sewer systems by local sanitation districts. Currently there are three types available: 1) professional wet cleaning system: 2) cold water cleaning systems: and 3) Green Jet™ dry-wet cleaning™ systems. Water-based cleaning systems are approved non-toxic and non-smog-forming dry cleaning technologies and qualify for grant money under California’s Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning Incentive Program, established by Assembly bill 998 (AB 998).

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

The CO2 process, developed by commercial and retail dry cleaners, is a high pressure system using liquid CO2 as the cleaning solvent. CO2 is a non-flammable, non-toxic, naturally-occurring gas that becomes a liquid solvent when subjected to pressure. There is no expected health risk to the general public from these processes. The CO2 process is also an approved non-toxic and non-smog forming dry cleaning technology that qualifies for grant money under the California’s Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning Incentive Program. The CO2 used in this process is obtained form large combustion sources, so there is no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to this process.

Hydrocarbon Solvents

Currently, the types of hydrocarbon solvent technologies available are: 1) DF-2000™ Fluid; 2) PureDry®; 3) EcoSolv®; 4) Shell Sol 140 HT; and, 5) Stoddard solvent. The machines using hydrocarbon solvents re predominately multi-solvent closed-loop machines equipped with primary controls. Detailed information on each of the hydrocarbons is available in the Air Resources Board staff report available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2007/perc07/perc07.htm. Hydrocarbon solvents are considered volatile organic compound (VOC) which contributes to the formation of ozone which is linked t ill-health effects including respiratory irritation, asthma, and premature death. Although there is limited health information on these solvent mixtures, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) conducted a study on the Stoddard solvent that concluded some evidence of carcinogenic activity in male rats. Additionally, the Stoddard solvent can be irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, and an also have effects on the nervous system.

GreenEarth® (Volatile Methyl Siloxane)

Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) or volatile methyl siloxane is the ingredient present in the GreenEarth® dry clening solvent used inn multi-solvent machines. The ARB does not consider D5 to be a VOC. In 2007, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) conducted an evaluation of the available D5 information and concluded that exposures of D5 at the highest achievable vapor concentrations cause uterine tumors in rats. OEHHA is also concerned about the potential non-carcinogenic effects associated with D5 and its apparent persistence in the environment and animal and human tissues. However, available exposure information indicates that the use of D5 as an alternative dry cleaning solvent will not pose a risk to the public living near businesses using D5.

Rynex™ (Rynex 3 or Propylene Glycol Ether)

Rynex™ (Rynex 3) is an organic and biodegradable solvent with low volatility and a high flash point. It is considered a VOC. Rynex 3 can be used in most hydrocarbon multi-solvent machines with some temperature and timing adjustments. Rynex3 represents the crren formulation for Rynex™ and consists of a mixture of glycol ethers. Rynex 3 does not contain propylene glycol t-butyl ether which was an ingredient used in a previous formulation for Rynex but instead contains dipropylene glycol tert-butyl ether (DPTB). Currently, ther is limited toxicity data available for DPTB. More detailed information on the toxicological studies for the previous formulation of Rynex™ can be found in the Technical Assessment Reprot available at http://arb.ca.gov/regact/2007/perc07/perc07/.htm.

1-Bromopropane (n-proplyl bromide)

1-Bromopropane (n-proplyl bromide or n-PB or DrySolv) is now being used in California by a small amount of dry cleaning facilities. It is considered a VOC. Although one of the n-PB solvent manufactures has recently began to market a dry cleaning machine specifically for use with the n-PB solvent, this solvent is also being used in modified Perc dry cleaning machines with secondary controls. When using a modified Perc dry cleaning machine, facility owners are learning that n-PB must be used with stabilizers because the chemical is unstable when water is present. This process uses a lot of water and n-PB reacts with the water to form hydrogen bromide, which can be very corrosive. The stabilizer takes up the water and prevents the n-PB from going acid and destroying the dry cleaning machine. This solvent is listed under Proposition 65 as a reproductive toxicant. It causes sterility in both male and female test animals, and harms developing fetuses. It can damage nerves, causing weakness, pain, numbness, and paralysis.

To read the entire report go to; http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/dryclean/notice2009_2.pdf

With all these different concerns why would you even consider any solvent cleaning method to clean your clothes.

We are dedicated to being Green & Sustainable; the system we use is water-based and is deposable into the local sanitation district. Along with the environmentally friendly cleaning method we are also dedicated to reducing waste in our land fills by offering many different alternatives from reusable garment bags and recyclable #5 plastic hangers to reusing as much as we can.

We are not business people capitalizing on the green movement; we are an established dry cleaner changing an industry!

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners in San Francisco and Sausalito

is your resource for cleaning tips and garment care information.

A certified green dry cleaner by the Bay Area Green Business Program and the San Francisco Environment.

Your non toxic dry cleaning alternative serving you with an EPA approved Eco Dry Clean (Wet Clean) System that is safe for your health and is environmentally friendly.

www.eco-drycleaners.com

Other Articles of Interest:

What Health Benefits are there to using a Green Dry Cleaner?

Does Eco Dry Clean (wet clean) clean as well as solvent dry cleaning?

What water temperature do I use for washing clothes? Hot-Cold or Warm?

How To Eliminate Shrinkage!


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