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What is PERC, and Why is There So Much in The Ground?

Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) is on the EPA’s list of the 10 chemicals in most need of remediation. A known carcinogen, Tetrachloroethylene is a chemical often used as a solvent for dry cleaning, and now fugitive traces of PERC can be found in many places around the city.

Dry cleaners use PERC because it was effective, expediting an otherwise time-consuming process as it was great at removing lubricants, oils, and a variety of stains. However, minor spills of the chemical can easily seep into soil and spread to the groundwater, making the area beneath such a dry cleaner toxic.

This fall, journalism students at CUNY Lehman College looked into the dangers associated with PERC, and government efforts to regulate it, as they investigated contaminated brownfields in The Bronx.

Read their piece here.
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