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Executive Summary: Table of Contents for the Executive Summary

Executive Summary Table of Contents for the Executive Summary

  • DESIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT Garment and Textile Care Partnership
    • Effects
    • Releases
    • Exposures
    • Risk Estimates
    • Perchlorethylene Solvents
    • Hydrocarbon Solvents
    • Machine Wet Cleaning

Download the PDF version of the Executive Summary in its entirety [61K].

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Chemical solvents have been used for cleaning clothes since the mid-19th century. Perchloroethylene (PCE) has been the solvent of choice for commercial clothes cleaning applications since the 1960s, although the volume used by drycleaners has declined significantly over the last decade. Despite this decline, a variety of health and safety issues associated with PCE use and increased regulation of the chemical have compelled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), industry, and environmental groups to address concerns about PCE emissions. As part of an effort to explore opportunities for pollution prevention and reduce exposure to traditional drycleaning chemicals, the EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Garment and Textile Care Partnership has developed the Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment (CTSA): Professional Fabricare Processes.

The goal of the CTSA is to provide comparative cost, risk, and performance information on professional fabricare technologies. The audience for the CTSA is technically informed and might consist of individuals such as environmental health and safety personnel, owners, equipment manufacturers, and other decision makers. It is expected to be used as a technical supplement by USEPA and stakeholders to develop information products suitable for a broad audience. These products will help professional cleaners make informed technology choices that incorporate environmental concerns.

The CTSA is based upon readily available information and uses simplifying assumptions and conventional models to provide general conclusions about various cleaning technologies. It is not a rigorous risk assessment of chemicals used in the fabricare industry and should not be used to describe the absolute level of risk associated with a particular clothes cleaning operation to specific populations or individuals. Results often represent case studies, however, these case study scenarios may not be representative of or generalizable to common practices. For instance, data on performance are reported from real world performance demonstrations conducted in model clothes cleaning facilities that may or may not be representative of a cleaner's specific operation. Additionally, there is not a consistent level of performance information available across all technologies. Cost information, developed from literature and through contact with industry representatives, is generalized and may overestimate or underestimate costs for a specific operation. Exposure, hazard, and risk assessments for the chemical components of the cleaning technologies were made by USEPA based on available data and/or modeling. Assumptions used in developing the information in the CTSA are presented throughout to assist users in determining the applicability of the information to various clothes cleaning operations. It is reasonable to expect that actual risks, costs, and performance may vary for specific clothes cleaning operations.

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