New York state to investigate exploitation of dry cleaning workers

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New York state to investigate exploitation of dry cleaning workers
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Stacey Sager has the latest details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York state is launching an investigation into the working conditions of employees in the dry cleaning industry.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the effort will include study of chemicals commonly used by dry cleaners that pose a health risk to workers. The effort will involve consideration of proposals to ban some chemicals deemed especially harmful.

The Democratic governor announced the investigation on Wednesday in New York City. He also detailed several other steps taken by the state to protect workers, including new ventilation rules for nail salons.

Cuomo said he is instructing the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health to pursue critical environmental and public health protections and put New York on the path to ban the use of PERC, a chemical identified as a "likely" carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and commonly used in the industry.

In addition, he said the state will implement nail salon ventilation regulations to make nail salons in New York the safest for workers and consumers in the nation.

The governor also announced that the state's Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation has directed 1,547 businesses to pay nearly $4 million in back wages and damages to more than 7,500 workers since its inception in July 2015.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)