Last holdout in Minneapolis using toxic dry cleaning chemicals goes green

Man's shirtFrom the Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 24, 2018.

A potentially carcinogenic drycleaning chemical has been eliminated from the city of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis is now the first major city in America to banish a toxic dry cleaning chemical, meaning that taking your suits to the cleaners no longer means dousing them with a potential carcinogen.

The city of Minneapolis has been pushing for dry cleaners to replace perchloroethylene over the last six years, and last year persuaded four dry cleaners to replace the chemical with a safer, hydrocarbon solvent.

Arif Osman, owner of Osman Cleaners on Hennepin Avenue in south Minneapolis, was the last holdout.

“We didn’t mean to hold the title of the last cleaner to use ‘perc,’ but due to the financial difficulties, it just so happened that it worked out this way,” Osman said.

His family has owned the business since 1988.

Osman got $20,000 from the city, $15,000 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and $5,000 each from the East Isles Resident Association and Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association to help him replace his drycleaning machines.

The funds for the program come from pollution control fees that businesses pay to the city, and the franchise fee increase passed by the City Council last fall.

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