Workers Health & Safety Centre

Toronto safe dry cleaning campaign needs your support!

Toronto safe dry cleaning campaign needs your support!
Do you want the right to know about the chemicals used to dry clean your clothes? The deadline to weigh in on Toronto’s proposed point of sale display system is April 13, 2017.

Last year, Toronto Health Public Health was directed to research and develop a point-of-sale display program for dry cleaning establishments. The City of Toronto is now seeking input from the dry cleaning industry and the public on the design of its Dry Cleaning Solvent Disclosure Program.

Like Toronto’s Dine Safe program which informs the public of food safety, a similar approach for harmful dry cleaning solvents will bring information to consumers of dry cleaning establishments. Most businesses do not advertise the type of solvent(s) they use to clean clothes and, perhaps even worse, they use greenwashing claims which label their service as 'eco-friendly' or 'organic'. 

Perchloroethylene, or PERC, the most commonly used toxic dry cleaning chemical, is subject to mandatory reporting through Toronto’s ChemTRAC program under the City’s Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Bylaw. ChemTRAC requires businesses to track and report their manufacture, use and release of priority chemicals. More importantly, it provides the public with more data than any other city on the use and release of toxic chemicals by smaller businesses, like dry cleaning shops.

With ChemTRAC however the onus still falls to concerned citizens to look up (and understand) this data online. There are no requirements to post ChemTRAC reports in the workplace.

With financial support from Live Green Toronto's ChemTRAC Grant program, Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) is also working with non-toxic wet cleaning professionals in Toronto to run wet cleaning demonstration events. It’s hoped some businesses will be convinced to switch away from toxic solvents.

Ready to support safer dry cleaning?

Complete TEA’s Coming Clean About Dry Cleaning action form by April 13, 2017.

Download a Pocket Guide to Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning created by TEA and Environmental Defence.

Other related resources:
WHSC Solvents Resource Line fact sheet
Toxics Use Reduction Institute dry cleaning resources

For our part, the Workers Health & Safety Centre assists workplace parties through training programs and information services aimed at raising awareness about hazardous exposures, including those which can contribute to the burden of cancer, and targeting prevention at the workplace level.

Call:  1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak with a training services representative