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An Environment Canada investigation into 48 dry cleaners around B.C. alleges nearly half improperly handled a toxic chemical that has been linked to a number of health problems including liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.
PERC, or perchloroethylene, is considered a probable carcinogen and was declared toxic in 1997 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Also known as tetrachloroethylene, the solvent was also banned in California in 2007, and could soon face an ban in France.
Manon Bombardier, director of Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch, said Canada’s environmental regulations require businesses using the chemical to have secondary containment systems under dry cleaning machines and containers holding PERC and the waste produced through the dry cleaning process. Any tanks or drums holding PERC residue also have to be properly covered.
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