Letters to the Editor
Industry Challenges EarthTalk
Dear Bay Weekly:
In the December 16 issue of Bay Weekly [Vol XII, No. 51], you published an EarthTalk question addressing health and safety concerns related to solvents in dry cleaning. The answer erroneously concludes perchloroethylene is unsafe and does a great disservice to the tens of thousands of environmentally and safety conscious dry cleaners in the U.S. With todays practices and equipment, in which 99.999 percent of the solvent is recycled, we absolutely feel that all dry cleaning is environmentally safe.
While EarthTalk cites short-term perc exposure effects including nausea, the EPAs own fact sheet cited at the end of the article states, These effects are not likely to occur at levels of perc that are normally found in the environment. The EPA has also stated that perc does not contribute to smog formation, deplete stratospheric ozone layers or contribute to the greenhouse effect.
The EPA classified perc as a possible human carcinogen in the late 1970s along with any product that caused cancer when fed in large doses to rodents. Since then, not only has the scientific community challenged the validity of human conclusions based on rodent testing, but the U.S. EPAs Science Advisory Board (an independent panel of experts appointed by EPA) stated in their review of perc that EPAs classification of perchloroethylene amply demonstrates why the classification system needs to be overhauled.
Furthermore, the results of a soon-to-be-released study of more than 7,000 dry cleaning workers exposed to perc in four Scandinavian countries do not appear to raise concern regarding perchloroethylene exposure, according to the studys sponsor, the Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance.
Even though the current evidence strongly suggests that perc is not a human carcinogen, it is worth noting the industry has voluntarily reduced perc consumption by more than 90 percent over the last 25 years. The EPA reports average outdoor concentration of perc in urban areas is 0.8 parts per billion, 30,000 times less than whats permitted by OSHA for employee exposures.
William E. Fisher: Chief Executive Officer, International Fabricare Institute
Watermans Way to Count the Days
Dear Bay Weekly:
Im trying to find a 2005 Chesapeake Bay Waterman calendar. I have had one each year as a Christmas gift but this year my wife could not find it anywhere. Do you have any and could I purchase one, or could you tell me where to get one? These are very special calendars as my family have been watermen of Chesapeake Bay for generations.
Randy Ward, Urbanna, Virginia
Editors note: We wrote about that very calendar in our annual story on local calendars, Plotting the Days of Our Lives, Vol. XII, No. 52: Dec. 23. Its published in Hampton, Virginia by RatMink, Inc.: 757-722-7712. The price is $13.50.
The High Cost of Following Your Dream
Dear Bay Weekly:
I loved the juxtaposition of your first-of-the-year feature article and editorial [Vol. XIII, No. 1: Jan. 6] from following your bliss to the struggle to survive in Chesapeake Country arts. I am currently living that dilemma having, against all advice, quit my reliable day job of nine years to open a little nonprofit community arts center in North Beach.
I have fallen in love with what I do now. My quiet little hometown is evolving to a great place for an artist to live and work, and I am thrilled to be painting and drawing and squishing clay with folks of all ages through classes at Bay Arts Center and through our programs with Bayside Boys and Girls Club. But every month the rent is due, and having exhausted my savings, I now completely depend on arts patrons to keep our little growing arts center alive. From our little studio near the boardwalk, we have a great view of the Chesapeake my daily reminder to be thankful for all the wonderful friends and supporters this change of career has brought me.
My heart aches for the loss of the Chesapeake Music Hall. For a young arts organization in need of mentors and examples, it does not bode well. So thanks for giving voice to both sides of that huge life-changing choice.
Stacy Allen, North Beach