Formaldehyde in Textiles

Technical Bulletin

Formaldehyde resins are widely used to enhance the performance of cotton fabrics, especially their wrinkle and crease resistance. However, formaldehyde gas released into the workplace air can pose a health hazard to textile workers. In this bulletin, we explain how U.S. agencies regulate formaldehyde levels and what this means for textile manufacturers. We describe how to measure the formaldehyde content of textiles and ways to reduce the amount of formaldehyde released into the air — such as using low-formaldehyde resins, using proper curing and preparation methods, adding formaldehyde scavengers to the finish, and after-washing fabrics.