An Edmonton businessman has become the first person in Canada to face imprisonment under laws governing the use of carcinogens in dry cleaning.

Ali Eldin, owner of First Class Cleaners and Todd Cleaners, pleaded guilty on Feb 23 to offences relating to the improper handling and storage of tetrachloroethylene.

Tetrachloroethylene, commonly known as PERC, is widely used as a dry‑cleaning solvent. Listed as a toxic substance under federal guidelines, prolonged exposure can cause a myriad of symptoms, ranging from dizziness and nausea to permanent neurological damage.

A series of inspections at Eldin's businesses, between May 2013 and October 2014, revealed proper safeguards for the dangerous chemical were not followed; tetrachloroethylene, its waste water and residue were not being stored in closed containers, and there was no secondary containment system being used by staff.

As well, waste containing the hazardous chemical had not been shipped out within the 12-month deadline.

Eldin will serve a conditional sentence, including 75 days of house arrest followed by a court-ordered curfew, and 60 hours of community service.

Provincial court Judge Janet Dixon also ordered Eldin to pay for and publish an article in a dry‑cleaning industry magazine outlining the details of his case, and the punishment imposed.

Dry cleaning businesses operated by Eldin have been the subject of two previous convictions on similar charges.