In December of 1994, the State of Vermont - Agency of Natural Resources
was the first in the nation to publish a Fact Sheet on reusable wipers,
that specifically required "petroleum-solvent dry cleaning" for any
wiper that was soiled with solvents or heavily saturated with
hydrocarbons. Modest hydrocarbon soil, typical in machine tool
industries, could still be cleaned by a traditional water & detergent
washing commercial laundry.
Following strong and very vocal opposition by the commercial laundries,
and their trade associations the State backed down, and in April 1996
published a revised Fact Sheet that now accepts water-washing as a wiper
cleaning option, even when solvent laden.
Interestingly, the State makes reference to the liabilities inherent in
selecting water-washing as the rented wiper management option, and
carefully points out that as hazardous "substances" these textiles may
represent ongoing liability for the user if mismanaged.
Other States should pay closer attention to the technologies available
for wiper cleaning and reuse, and encourage users to audit the
facilities where the wipers are being cleaned.
A copy of the fact sheet is available from Sherri Kasten at Vermont ANR
by calling 802-241-3888 or faxing 802-241-3296, or from me....