The nation’s first-ever ban on perchloroethylene, or “perc,” went into effect on Friday when Southern California air quality officials approved a regulation mandating a phase-out of the chemical by the year 2020. The long lead-time to the phase-out is a concession to the dry-cleaning industry, which relies on perc to remove stubborn stains from delicate fabrics. The measure is considered a death-knell for perc-based dry-cleaning because other communities around the country are likely to follow suit in banning the carcinogenic chemical. In the Los Angeles region, air quality officials estimate that 850 tons of perc are released annually, making it one of the most abundant airborne pollutants in the area.