Ban sought on cancer-causing dry cleaning chemical

BROOKLYN - A state lawmaker wants to ban a potentially harmful chemical that is commonly used in dry cleaning.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith has introduced a bill to ban tetrachloroethene, known as PERC, which is also used in auto body work. The measure calls for the chemical to be replaced with more environmentally friendly products by 2012.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found PERC causes liver and kidney tumors in rats and mice. Experts say exposure to large amounts can also affect the nervous system.

The Environmental Protection Agency says thousands of dry cleaners use the chemical statewide. Investigators recently found a Brooklyn dry cleaner was improperly storing PERC.

Smith's bill comes after PERC leaked into the Queens water supply in May. However, health officials say the minute amount is unlikely to cause adverse affects.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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