The proposal, which will be published in the New Jersey Register on 17 December, would lead to a transition from perc to alternative solvents.

From 1 January 2010 drycleaners using third generation perc equipment would either have to replace it with fourth generation machinery or install a vapour barrier.

The department is also proposing that all users of perc machines, whether new or existing, would have to comply with Federal rules for perc drycleaning.

New Jersey has around 1,600 drycleaning plants, and around 1,800 machines. The majority of these use perc. The Department estimates that implementing these proposals would be cut perc emissions in the state by between 467 and 545tons per year.

A public hearing has been set for Friday 18 January 2008 and written comments can be submitted to the department by 15 February 2008. These should be sent to NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Alice Private, Attention (DEP Docket No 27-07-11/582), Office of Legal Affairs, PO Box 402, Trenton New Jersey, 08625.

The proposals are being put forward under NJAC 7:27:17, Control and Prohibition of Air Pollution by Toxic Substances.