The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that a new rule requiring dry cleaners to post signs disclosing the primary chemicals used in the dry cleaning process takes effect today, Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
About 1,400 dry cleaning businesses throughout New York City are now required to list the chemicals and a link to information about their potential health effects. DEP developed the new disclosure rule in close consultation with the National Cleaners Association and other industry groups. The cost of compliance is minimal or non-existent; dry cleaners simply have to fill out and print the applicable forms from the DEP website and post it in their business. The rule was enacted in February, 2013 and over the last year DEP worked extensively with businesses to implement the new rule ahead of today’s effective date. A template of the disclosure form is available here.
“By collaborating with the dry cleaning industry, we have developed this common sense rule that provides consumers with important public health information at virtually no cost to local businesses,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “Over the next several months we will continue our door to door outreach to dry cleaners throughout the five boroughs to help businesses comply with the new disclosure requirements.”
“The National Cleaners Association (NCA) was pleased to work cooperatively with DEP to develop a strategy for educating consumers about the new cleaning solutions being used in the dry cleaning industry, and we applaud DEP’s investment in developing a consumer friendly website to answer that challenge,” said Nora Nealis NCA’s Executive Director.
Most dry cleaners use perchloroethylene or “perc,” which is regulated by Federal, State, and City governments as exposure to perc vapor can have negative health effects. Dry cleaners that use perc are required to post an informational sign which provides contact information to report odors and other problems. The notice also lists where additional information can be found about the potential health effects of perc exposure. Some dry cleaners have more recently promoted the use of non-perc chemicals and these cleaning agents may also have health risks. DEP’s new rule will help inform consumers about the use of non-perc chemicals and any potential effects.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, please visit here.