Demands for greater flexibility and accuracy in the manufacture of automobile trim parts has made single-ply laser cutting an attractive proposition. Lasers are able to cut a large variety of cloth types, from vinyls to velours. Unlike mechanically cut parts, which in the case of velours produce rough edges and dust problems, laster cutting of parts produces smooth edges, fumes and fine particulate. A detailed study of the nature of the laser effluent from a cross section of typical synthetic cloth found in an automotive trim plant was undertaken. Most samples were cut by a fast axial flow, 500 Watt, continuous wave CO2 laser. A 254 mm (10-inch) focussing optics package was used. The width of the kerf varied with the material, and values were determined at between 0.2 and 0.7 mm. Particle size distribution analysis and rates of particulate emission for each cloth were determined. Gases were collected in gas sample bags and analyzed using Fourier transform infrared analysis. Low boiling point organics were collected on activated charcoal tubes, identified on a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, and quantified on a gas chromatograph. Inorganic contaminants were collected on filter paper and analysed on an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer. A number of different effluent control systems were evaluated. Due to the very fine and sticky nature of the particulate, filters capable of removing particulate sizes in the 10 μm or lower range, tend to clog rapidly. Laboratory scale models of wet scrubbers, and electrostatic precipitators were built and tested. The most effective dust and effluent gas control was given by a wet electrostatic precipitator. This system, in conjunction with a scrubber, should maintain emission levels within environmental standards.