New dry cleaning act could clean up industry

US Congressmen from both the Republican and Democrat parties have introduced a Bill to give tax breaks to dry cleaning companies so that they can afford new environmentally friendly technology.

The Small Business Pollution Prevention and Opportunity Act of 2001 would offer a 20-40% tax credit to owners of cleaning establishments – which are normally small family businesses – for environmentally sound technology. The legislation is designed to prevent their workers from handling potentially hazardous solvents, and to protect dry cleaning consumers, as well as the environment.

“This legislation is an approach to pollution prevention for an industry of small businesses who want to do the right thing for their customers and the environment but are struggling with the costs,” said Congressman Manzullo, one of the sponsors of the Bill. “This tax credit will help small business cleaners continue performing their valuable service while maintaining public health and safety.”

The new legislation would help 35,000 cleaning companies to afford safer cleaning technologies, such as wet cleaning or liquid carbon dioxide, said Henry Cole, President of the Centre for Environmentally Advanced Technologies. “This is an important step in cleaning up the dry cleaning industry,” said Cole. “The perchloroetheylene solvent used in the majority of dry cleaning shops is highly toxic and exposes hundreds of thousands of workers and building residents to this dangerous chemical in the indoor air they breathe.” Perchloroetheylene has also contaminated thousands of underground drinking water resources around the country, added Cole.

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