November 24, 2012

When Washing Rags Creates Toxic Emissions

Mechanic Ray Duran changes oil in a car at a Shell station in Los Angeles in 2011. (Reed Saxon/AP)
Shop towels, which are used to wipe up oil, solvents and chemicals, can release toxic chemicals into the air when laundered – but they’re largely unregulated.

Science journalist Barbara Moran, who wrote about the issue in The Hartford Courant, told Here & Now that environmental regulators admitted to her they had missed this problem of solvents from industrial rags and shop towels in industrial laundries.   

"Inspectors were amazed at the fumes."
"I'm taking an organic chemistry class. and we use a lot of these chemicals in the lab and we wear goggles and gloves and work under a fume hood and often people get sick anyway and have to leave lab and get some air….Barbara Moran.