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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2004 Nov-Dec;70(6):342-4.

Detection of formaldehyde in textiles by chromotropic acid method.

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Department of Skin and STD, Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal, India.



The common causes of textile dermatitis are formaldehyde resins and disperse dyes. There are various methods to detect the presence of formaldehyde in clothing.


To detect the presence of formaldehyde in various types of textiles by the chromotropic acid method and to assess the effect of washing on the formaldehyde content.


Twenty randomly selected textiles from a local cloth store were tested for formaldehyde by the chromotropic acid method. A purple ring indicated a positive reaction. The intensity of the purple ring was graded from 1+ to 3+ and reassessed after washing the clothes.


Eleven out of the 20 textiles tested positive for formaldehyde. The fully synthetic clothes were free from formaldehyde. After the first and second washes the majority did not show a reduction in the formaldehyde content.


This is a simple and rapid test which can be used in the practical management of patients with textile allergy. Washing the clothes may not have an effect on the formaldehyde content.

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