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Posted Tue Sep 13 2011: from Georgetown University:
High Levels of Carcinogens in Dry-Cleaning, Study Shows
Georgetown researchers have found that perchloroethylene (PCE), a potentially carcinogenic dry cleaning solvent, is retained in dry-cleaned clothes made of polyester, cotton or wool. The levels increase with repeat cleanings, according to the researchers, whose work appeared Aug. 30 online in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.... "The question is, can the levels of PCE we find be absorbed through the skin or inhaled in quantities large enough to harm people," says Georgetown professor Paul Roepe, who supervised the study. "We don't have the complete answers to those questions, but I think we know enough to suggest that more studies should be done very quickly."... They found that polyester, cotton and wool (but not silk) are most prone to retaining high levels of PCE. "At the end of the day, nobody - I mean nobody - has previously done this simple thing - gone out there to several different drycleaners and tested different types of cloth for retained PCE," says Roepe, also co-director of Georgetown's Center for Infectious Disease.
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