SIC 7212 Garment Pressing, and Agents for Laundries and Drycleaners


SIC 7212

This industry category includes establishments that primarily serve as agents for launderers and drycleaners. Companies in this industry may do their own pressing or finishing work but have the laundry and dry cleaning work done by others. Businesses operating their own laundry plants are classified in SIC 7211: Power Laundries, Family and Commercial, and those operating their own dry cleaning plants are classified in SIC 7216: Drycleaning Plants, Except Rug-Cleaning.



Garment Pressing and Agents for Laundries

The average work force for industry firms consisted of 13 employees. Most companies were privately owned, according to U.S. census figures. The Journal of Commerce and Commercial noted that the total dry cleaning industry was "dominated by immigrant small-business owners and families with limited means." According to U.S. government statistics, there were approximately 3,119 establishments in this category in 2002, down from 3,159 in the mid 1990s. Revenues exceeded $1.2 billion. The garment pressing and cleaners' agents industry is concentrated most heavily in the midwestern United States, with a secondary concentration in the New England states.

In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended the Clean Air Act of 1990, adding new rules to reduce atmospheric levels of the most common dry cleaning chemical, perchloroethylene (perc). The Journal of Commerce and Commercial noted the chemical was "the most effective cleaning agent" in the industry, "but the government has identified it as a probable human carcinogen." The EPA estimated about 30 percent of U.S. drycleaners would be affected by the new regulations. Industry observers said drycleaners would have to invest at least $7,000 to meet the necessary standards, a heavy burden for many small operations.

Anticipating the implementation of the new EPA standards, chemical producers set out to find replacement substances for perc, including solvents based...

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