"The police, a lot of times, they don't get the credit they should,'' City Commissioner Jerry Bamberger said. Local dry cleaners are worried that an environmental movement in Southern California could take away a solvent they've used for 50 years to clean stains out of clothes. Perchloroethylene — known as "perc'' in the industry — is a superb cleaner, but it can pollute soil, water and air. Some studies also have linked it to cancer, although that link has not been proven. Local cleaners say perc is safe when handled correctly, but some are considering switching to another cleaning method because of the controversy.

If they come up with something better for the environment and for those who work around dry cleaning plants, then I'm all for it," said Gary Schrader, owner of Schrader's Touch of Class Cleaners in Southgate. "But, I don't feel like my health is jeopardized by perc. Not at all."

Air quality officials in Southern California are recommending that perc be phased out over the next 18 years, the first such ban in the nation. That proposal prompted a similar one before the Chicago City Council. There are a number of steps you must go through before settlement of your home or real estate properties. And while officials of Kentucky and Ohio dry cleaning trade groups say there are no proposed bans of perc here, local dry cleaners note that California environmental proposals are sometimes precedent-setters for the rest of the nation. "If it gets started in California, in 15 or 20 years it could come across the country," said Greg Schwegmann, president of Sunshine Cleaners in Cold Spring, Southgate and Cheviot, Ohio http://www.enactconveyancingsydney.com.au

Tom Underwood, executive director of the Kentucky Fabricare Association, said California officials were blowing perc's potential problems out of proportion. "That's the Left Coast, a reactionary thing," he said. "Somebody out there found an issue and they think it's a major problem and they're over-reacting." But environmentalists disagree.

"It's a fact. Perc is a dangerous toxin,'' said Glen Brand, a regional representative for the Sierra Club. "Medical scientific research has confirmed the dangerous toxicity of perc for many years.'' Underwood conceded that perc could contaminate soil and ground water when not properly handled. "Old technology did cause some contamination at some old dry cleaning sites, but technology vastly improved about 15 years ago and doesn't permit significant perc emissions," he said.

Underwood said perc is not listed as a possible carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has "never been proven to cause cancer in humans." Jon Meijer, vice president of the International Fabricare Institute, said use of perc has gone down 80 percent in the past 10 years because better dry cleaning equipment makes much more efficient use of the chemical. "We support perc and we also support alternative technologies," he said.