- Robin des Bois - http://www.robindesbois.org/en -

Ban on Perchlorethylene : a fake measure

The Ministry for Ecology has put together a plan confirming the use of perchlorethylene, a solvent that is toxic for humans and the environment, until 2028. As a result, all Laundromat owners buying dry cleaning equipment containing perchlorethylene until the deadline of January 1st 2013 will be able to use it for fifteen years.

The text is so complicated and tangled that the members of the High Council for Technological Risks Prevention, on their June 26th 2012 meeting, only discovered this deadline after two and a half hours of debate.

The French Laundry Federation, the French Dry Cleaning and Laundry Federation, and the Halogen Solvent Manufacturers Syndicate have contributed to this smoke screen. The 5,000 laundromats and dry cleaners in France claimed they’d be threatened by the short deadline of the perchlorethylene prohibition enforcing. Hundreds and thousands of jobs would allegedly be put in jeopardy; the laundry world would be fragile. The urban nightmare of laundry extinction, after that of service stations, hung over the High Council. The desperate cries from managers supposedly ruined by unsustainable investments overran room number two of the South Tower of the Ministry of Ecology, in La Défense square.

In response to these waves of hypocrisy and caricature, it must be reminded – for it is indeed known that perchoric exposure causes memory loss – that the solvent to be banned is toxic and neurotoxic for humans, pregnant women, children, domestic animals. Besides, there is growingly shared belief it is carcinogenic and harmful to the environment. It is also odorless as long as the concentration does not go beyond 6,000 micrograms per cubic unit of air. The alert level is set at 250 micrograms per cubic meter. It is volatile and passes as easily through the walls and ceiling as through the placental barrier and installs itself in neighboring laundromats, especially those from above. Laundromat employees are the first victims. This global harmfulness from perchlorethylene has been recognized and known for at least ten years.

1- Robin des Bois requires the French Minister of Ecology and her administration, to considerably shorten to as early as 2018 the deadline for a total ban on perchloric products on use in Laundromats. This is a realistic date. It eliminates the extensions until 2022 and 2028 and reasonably takes into account the technical and financial restraints. In comparison, it is the kind of deadline prescribed by the Nuclear Safety Authority when it comes to carry out heavy works such as those following Complementary Security Evaluations. What is required of nuclear plants operators must also be required of Laundromat managers.

2- Robin des Bois believes that substitutes for perchlorethylene, such as ether glycol, carry health and environmental risks. They cannot be considered future solutions and must be prohibited now.

3- Robin des Bois suggests that tenants and landlords require building and other properties-management agents to analyze the perchlo rate in the interior air of