Formaldehyde is used in fabrics to bind pigments to the cloth, as a fire retardant, and to provide stiffness. In cotton and cotton blends it is used to enhance wrinkle resistance and water repellancy. It can often be noted by the odor of the treated fabric. The predominant, characteristic odor in large fabric stores is due to formaldehyde.

This same urea-formaldehyde resin is used to glue sawdust and wood chips into particle board and to make plywood. Packaging paper is made more water resistant by treating the paper pulp with urea-formaldehyde resin.

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