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Discover India Hicks

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How bad is it...


...to leave clothes in the dry cleaning bag?

A: Bottom line: Really bad.

What makes your clothes look so fresh is often the chemical perchloroethylene (perc), which the Environmental Protection Agency has linked to many health risks, including cancer. Perc can linger on clothes and when enclosed in a bag, it can build up, putting you in greater danger of breathing it in once you remove the plastic.

So ditch the bag right away, says Peter Sinsheimer, executive director of UCLA's Environmental Health Sustainable Technology Program. As even safer option: Try an ecofriendly dry cleaner, who will use liquid carbon dioxide, a silicone-based solvent, or steam and use non-toxic detergents to remove stains.

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