There are more than 7 thousand substances on the list of auxiliary media for the textile industry. Some of them, especially those lacking a strong link with the textiles, may be released under certain circumstances and penetrate the human body.
One of such chemicals is formaldehyde, widely used in many branches of industry (not just textile). Formaldehyde (methanal, methyl aldehyde), having the formula HCHO, is an organic compound, the first of the aldehyde homologous series.
It influences the physical properties of the product, serving to stabilize its dimensions. It is thanks to formaldehyde that fabrics do not fracture, crease, or shrink, and that they have better grip. It may also influence the quality and stability of the colouration. Depending on the concentration, type of contact, and many other factors, humans may experience formaldehyde as abrasive, toxic, allergenic, mutagenic or carcinogenic.
The label “HCHO free” serves to inform that a particular product is formaldehyde-free.