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Industries in the Personal and Laundry Services subsector group establishments provide personal and laundry services to individuals, households, and businesses. Laundry and dry cleaning workers clean cloth garments, linens, draperies, blankets, and other articles. They also may clean leather, suede, furs, and rugs.
Laundries and dry cleaning establishments are often hot and noisy. Employees also may be exposed to harsh solvents, but newer environmentally friendly and less toxic cleaning solvents are improving the work environment in these establishments.
Dry cleaning process hazards include chemical, fire, and ergonomics. Exposure to hazardous chemicals commonly used in dry cleaning shops may occur through skin absorption, eye contact, or inhalation of the vapors. Perchloroethylene (PERC), a potential human carcinogen, is the most commonly used dry cleaning solvent. Symptoms associated with exposure include: depression of the central nervous system; damage to the liver and kidneys; impaired memory; confusion; dizziness; headache; drowsiness; and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Repeated dermal exposure may result in dermatitis.