13 December 2007 01:08 [Source: ICIS news]
(Adds ACC's comment in paragraphs 10-11)
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--New Jersey’s environmental department will propose a law barring the state’s dry cleaners from using perchloroethylene (perc), according to documents accessed on Wednesday on the state’s Web site.
If approved, the ban would go into affect in July 2009 for dry cleaners in residential buildings and 2021 for the entire state.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection estimates that the state’s 1,600 dry cleaners annually emit up to 545 tons of perc, a chlorine solvent that the US Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as a "possible-to-probable" carcinogen and one of the top 10 toxic air contaminants in the state.
The department also said dry cleaning perc has been the cause of more than 250 ground and groundwater contamination investigations the state.
“Emissions of perc from dry cleaning operations result in unacceptable health risks to much of the population of New Jersey,” the department said in its draft proposal. “Although the proposed rules are more restrictive than those adopted by the US EPA, the department believes the reduced health risk to the public justifies the restrictions.”
Perc producers could not be immediately reached for comment.
The department predicted that the proposed rules would reduce emissions of perc from dry cleaning operations in half within about six years and by 100% by 1 January 2021.
New Jersey is the second state to attempt to eliminate perc from its dry cleaning industry. In January, California passed a rule requiring the complete phase-out of perc in the state by January 2023.
The New Jersey proposal is scheduled to go into the state registry on 17 December. The state will call for a public hearing in January.
Although Chemistry Council in New Jersey spokesman Elvin Montero declined to comment on how the ban might affect the industry, he said he thought the state was attempting the phase-out in “the wrong way.”
“We don’t feel they have the authority to start banning chemicals,” he said. “Any attempt would have to go through the legislature.”
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