The City of Santa Monica has become very concerned about the pollution caused by petroleum solvents used in Santa Monica dry cleaning businesses, and is exploring how to ban the use of these solvents within the City.On April 21 the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce (SMCC) hosted a discussion between Santa Monicaï¿½s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, dry cleaning business owners, and representatives of dry cleaning equipment manufacturers. SMCC CEO Laurel Rosen called the discussion an example of the City reaching out to the business community to work on solutions.Local dry cleaning businesses were quite concerned about the City ordinance being proposed by the Cityï¿½s Task Force on the Environment that ï¿½would allow only non-toxic and non-smog forming garment technologies to operate in Santa Monica.ï¿½ This ordinance would require all existing and new cleaners to install only non-toxic and non-smog forming technology but allow existing technologies to operate to the end of their useful lives.The dry cleaning industry has been using Perc (perchloroethylene) as a solvent since the 1950s but it has been found to be a possible human carcinogen so there have been warnings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about its use. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is encouraging cleaners to use other non-toxic technologies by offering them grants to change over. Shung Kalin who owns Natureï¿½s Best Dry Cleaning in the City of Lomita told the Mirror after the SMCC hosted discussion that the ï¿½California has imposed an excise tax on Percï¿½ so cleaners will use other alternative solvents or methods. He explained that cleaners prefer Perc because it is a very effective cleaner do to the fact that it is water-soluble and an aggressive degreaser.The City, however, is interested in encouraging the use of wet cleaning and CO2 technology. Gary Futterman who owns Flair Cleaners on Montana Avenue told the City Council on March 24, when they began to discuss the issue, that wet cleaning ï¿½damages certain fabrics, causes color damage, can cause permanent garment shrinkage, and canï¿½t remove grease.ï¿½ At the SMCC discussion dry cleaners also pointed out that wet cleaning isnï¿½t viable for 100 percent of cleaning, that high volume use of this technology is potentially a problem because of the cost to the cleaners and water use is an issue because of Californiaï¿½s water crisis. Others mentioned that CO2 technology is not affordable to most cleaners.The owner of Brentwood Royal Cleaners, Robert Smerling, stated at the meeting that ï¿½most of my customers donï¿½t care what you clean a garment with as long as it gets cleaned.ï¿½Dean Kubani who is the Cityï¿½s Environmental Programs Manager, told the dry cleaners owners that the City ï¿½is promoting sustainability and a healthy environment and is not trying to put you out of business.ï¿½ His office will now continue to work on what type of ordinance to recommend to the City Council.
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