The IFI has long attacked Micell’s anti-perc stance and said that CO2 should stand on its own merits and had thought that Micell had retreated from this kind of promotion.

However, the latest mailout, describing “Neighbor Jerry” who had got sick from working with drycleaning chemicals, was said to prove that this was not the case, and in its reference to the EPA, IFI CEO Bill Fisher said the company had gone too far.

Mr Fisher has written to Micell’s Kirk Kinsell challenging him to produce official US EPA materials in writing that show a designation by them of perc as a probable human carcinogen.

He also asked Mr Kinsell to confirm or deny whether there are any Hangers franchises that are using perc drycleaning (on or off-site) to clean at least some portion of garments coming into their stores.

If he cannot do this, said Mr Fisher’s letter, then the mailer is “a false accusation and a wilful attack on perc drycleaners throughout the country.” The letter stated: “If you cannot deny that at least some Hangers’ franchisees use (or have used) perc drycleaning for some of the garments they receive, your corporate marketing strategy is deliberately harming your own franchisees.” Mr Fisher has copied his letter and Micell’s mailer to the US industry’s major trade publications.