Hazards of PER Alternatives

As of 2013, the French Authorities have decided to progressively stop the use of dry-cleaning machines that use Perchloroethylene (PER) as cleaning solvent (cf. arrêté 2345), which is widely used within textile cleaning for its unique properties, as it is the most efficient non-aqueous cleaning solvent, and provides a high level of safety to workers and surrounding buildings as it is non-flammable.

Dry-cleaners in France are now forced to use alternative solvents with different physical properties that do not provide the same level of safety, in particular flammable solvents. Since the regulation came into force, several fires have broken out in dry-cleaning shops applying flammable solvents, that did only by chance not result in harm to shop workers and people living in the neighbourhood. ECSA would like to re-affirm that under controlled conditions PER is and remains the safest and most efficient solvent of choice for dry-cleaning. For decades ECSA is providing recommendations on the safe handling of PER in regards to machine operation and solvent recycling, to protect people and the environment against adverse exposure and spillage along the whole life cycle of PER.