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Minnesota House unanimously approves legislation that prohibits PERC and helps dry cleaners transition to safer processes

Monday, March 01, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to prohibit perchloroethylene, a chemical solvent that is widely used in dry cleaning facilities. The legislation, authored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), will help dry cleaners transition to safer processes. 

“Minnesotans should not be exposed to chemicals that are associated with serious health risks,” said Rep. Hansen. “We are committed to protecting Minnesotans from harmful chemicals, including perchloroethylene. Prohibiting PERC and supporting dry cleaners as they transition to safer alternatives will help keep Minnesota workers, customers, and communities safe and healthy.”  

The bill prohibits using perchloroethylene – commonly known as PERC – as a dry cleaning solvent after December 31, 2025. It transfers $510,000 from the state’s Remediation Fund to the Dry Cleaner Fund to help facilities replace PERC and purchase new equipment. Owners and operators of dry cleaning facilities will be reimbursed up to $20,000 for the costs of transitioning to alternative solvents.  

The Environmental Protection Agency classifies perchloroethylene as a “likely carcinogen.” The chemical solvent is also associated with neurological effects and damage to the kidneys, liver, immune system, and blood system. Exposure can occur in dry cleaning facilities or in the environment; PERC has been found in air, water, and soil. Minnesotans who work in dry cleaning facilities that use PERC are at the highest risk for exposure, but people who live or work near these facilities or wear dry-cleaned clothing may be exposed to higher levels of PERC than the general population.  

Video of the floor session is available on House Public Information Service’s YouTube channel.  

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