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Engineering Control Technology Assessment of the Dry Cleaning Industry

October 1980
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 80-136
80-136 Cover

Control technology for minimizing worker exposures to toxic chemicals in the dry cleaning industry (SIC-3292) was evaluated. Industry representatives were interviewed, about 25 dry cleaning facilities were surveyed, and literature was reviewed to identify control measures used throughout the industry. Problems with inadequate ventilation systems, leakage in gaskets and dampers of dry cleaning equipment, poor functioning of carbon adsorption systems, and poor work practices were observed in the industry. The authors conclude that state of the art of control technology does not reflect the optimum level of possible control. Recommendations include improvements in ventilation systems, installation of pressure gages to monitor system performance, regular inspection of gaskets and dampers, use of safe work practices, use of process isolation, and use of covered buckets for collected recovered solvents. Areas for additional research include ventilation design optimization, cleaning cycle optimization, gasket materials, dissemination of control equipment, machine exhausts, leak detection equipment and tumbler vapor monitors.