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When you pay your dry-cleaning bill, do you sometimes feel you're
being taken to the cleaners? Just wait. A proposed new Environmental
Protection Agency regulation could add another 10% to your bill once
it takes effect late next year.
As part of the 1990 Clean Air Act, the EPA plans to restrict
emissions from perchloroethylene -- ''percs'' for short -- a
potentially toxic dry-cleaning solvent. Some cleaners will wind up
spending $3,000 to $30,000 to install new nonventing machines or to
retrofit their existing equipment. When the California environmental
agency imposed perc regulations in its state 10 years ago,
dry-cleaning prices there shot up an average of 17%, according to the
International Dry Cleaners Congress, an industry trade group -- but
those rules were stricter than the EPA's.
So if you're already fed up with high cleaning bills, fight back.
Switch to wash-and-wear.