2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 15:14:07 -0500 (EST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Dry Cleaning and Camp LeJeune
To: Community, Health, Miliary Toxics, and Health Advocacy Groups
From: Hank Cole/Ad Hoc Alliance for Safe Cleaning <hcole@igc.org>

PCE from dry cleaners has exposed millions of Americans to this highly
volatile and toxic chemical.  PCE is a potent neurotoxicant, may cause
birth defects and is a probable human carcinogen. PCE from dry cleaners
has been one of the most widespread sources of contamination of
underground water supplies.

The latest disaster to surface is a major PCE/TCE release at Camp
LeJeune in North Carolina. About 16,000 families at the Marine Base were
exposed to contaminated drinking water (via ingestion and inhalation)
during the 1980's.  The source of PCE was dumping by a local dry
cleaning business.

The Camp took no action for nearly 20 years, and only recently is
involved in an attempt to locate and survey those exposed.

The attached "sign-on letter" asks members of the House and Senate to
help prevent future tragedies by helping dry cleaners make the
transition from perchloroethylene to safe alternatives (wetcleaning and
liquid CO2). The House and Senate Bills provide a 20 percent tax credit
to cleaners who buy safe alternative equipment. The sign on letter also
asks the members to press for cleanup and for greater efforts to locate
and help those exposed.

The election may be over, but 107th Congress will be back to finish 
business.  We are going to make another attempt to enact HR 1303 / S1939
(Tax credits for safe alternatives to perc-based dry cleaning). 

We are trying to get as many organizations as possible to sign on to the
attached letter. 

Please: (1) email me <hcole@igc.org> back with approval to add your
organization's name and (2) add an action alert to your group's
electronic newsletter. 

If you have questions, please call me at 301/780-7990.

BY THIS FRIDAY (NOVEMBER 10)or at the latest by Monday Morning.



Sign on Letter Text in Support of Safe Dry Cleaning Alternatives Tax
Credit Legislation

November 13, 2000

The Honorable___________________
Washington, DC  

Dear Congressman/Senator_______________:

We the undersigned environmental, health and consumer advocacy
organizations urge you to give your full and active support to H.R.1303
and to Senate S. 1939 the "Small Business Pollution Prevention and
Opportunity Act." These bills will provide garment cleaners with a tax
credit for investing in safe and healthful alternatives to
perchloroethylene-based dry cleaning.

Collectively our organizations represent millions of Americans working a
better environment and for healthier communities, workplaces and

The need for this legislation is made devastatingly clear by the recent
news regarding Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Thousands of Marines and
their families living at the base were exposed to tetrachloroethylene
(PCE or perc) and trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination in their
drinking and bathing water supply from 1968 to 1985.  

* The probable source of the PCE was dumping by a dry cleaner. 

* PCE continues to be the most widely used cleaning agent by the
nation's 35,000 dry cleaners.

* The U.S. Marines and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR) is now engaged in an effort to locate and survey 16,500
families that were probably exposed to the chemicals. The full extent of
harm to these families is not known. According to ATSDR, several studies
have indicated that exposure to these chemicals may increase the
likelihood of birth defects and childhood cancers such as leukemia. 

* This release at LeJeune is not unique. Dry cleaner PCE releases to
underground drinking water sources have occurred at hundreds of sites
around the country with the national price tag reaching billions of

It is, therefore, essential that the federal agencies take all necessary
steps to locate all potentially exposed families, provide necessary
medical surveillance and treatment, clean up the site and prevent future
tragedies at all military and civilian cleaning facilities. 

We therefore ask you to use the full power of your office to: 

1. Ensure the enactment of legislation that provides cleaners with
incentives to switch to safe alternatives. H.R. 1303 and S. 1939 are
landmark bills that deserve your attention and action now.  These bills
would provide small business cleaners with a 20 percent tax credit to
afford safe and sustainable cleaning equipment utilizing water-based wet
cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide.  These two technologies are
commercially available, and there is no rationale for dry cleaners to
continue to use PCE and TCE. 

2. Encourage government to set a positive example by converting, at the
earliest date possible, all military base dry cleaning operations to
those using environmentally-safe equipment.

We implore you to take steps now to enact a tax credit for new and safe
cleaning technologies, and require the military to convert to these
technologies to end this unnecessary pollution which may have tragically
harmed our nation's servicemen and women and their families.  Thank you
for your prompt action.


List of organizations

cc:  President William Jefferson Clinton
       Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
       Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
       Secretary of HHS Donna E. Shalala
       EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner

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