SACRAMENTO, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- California is the first state to enact a gradual ban on a dry-cleaning solvent that has been linked to several cancers.
The California Air Resources Board voted 9-0 to ban the purchase of new machines that use the chemical perchloroethylene, or perc, as of 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
All perc machines are to be phased out by 2023.
"It's very important to public health to move in the direction of eliminating perc from dry-cleaning facilities in California. ... But a lot of people are going to be affected by what we do today. There has to be a sense of fairness," said board member Barbara Riordan, one of four board members who voted Thursday against a quicker ban supported by environmental groups, the Times said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a ban on perc machines, instead phasing them out only at dry cleaners in residential buildings.
"Tightening the rules for dry cleaners is an important step in the agency's comprehensive strategy to protect public health. EPA remains committed to the phase-out in residential buildings," spokeswoman Jessica Emond told the Times.