Buildings Generally Rules regarding Perchloroethylene (“PERC”) Vapors from Dry Cleaning Facilities (Article 131 of the NYC Health Code)

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Monday, July 18, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose



When the Department receives a complaint of persistent perchloroethylene (PERC) odors from occupants of residential and other premises adjacent to or near dry cleaners, an inspection and measurements of PERC are made at the premises. If the level exceeds the nuisance level defined in Health Code §131.17 (“Dry cleaning facilities”), the Department will order the owners of the dry cleaning business and/or the owner of the premises in which the dry cleaner is located to find the cause and abate the nuisance by providing proper exhaust ventilation, adjusting operation of dry cleaning equipment and installing barriers, if necessary, to prevent fumes from escaping.

The Board of Health is amending Health Code §131.17 to reduce the nuisance level for  emissions of PERC vapors found in residential, child-occupied and other occupied buildings emanating from dry cleaning facilities located in the same or adjacent buildings. The amendment lowers the current nuisance level from 100 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) to 30 μg/m3.  The reduction of the nuisance level is based on studies by the US Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), which classifies PERC as “likely to be carcinogenic in humans by all levels of exposure” and a recently revised New York State Department of Health guideline for PERC air levels.[1]


EPA’s rules prohibit using PERC in dry cleaning facilities located in residential buildings after December 21, 2020.[2]   Until then, dry cleaning facilities that use PERC must control emissions in accordance with EPA rules.   

Statutory Authority

This amendment to the New York City Health Code (the Health Code) is promulgated pursuant to Sections 558 and 1043 of the New York City Charter (the Charter). Section 558(b) and (c) of the Charter empowers the Board of Health (the Board) to amend the Health Code and to include in the Health Code all matters to which the authority of New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the Department) extends. Section 1043 grants the Department rule-making authority.


[2] See 40 CFR §63.322 (o); see also discussion in Federal Register of EPA intent to phase out PERC equipment by 2020, available at https://federal