Yes many textiles do contain harmful chemicals. The chemical textile manufacturing processes include sizing, desizing, scouring, bleaching, mercerization, dyeing, printing and special finishing, etc. Because of the process many textiles will contain chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, perfluorinated chemicals, ammonia and other
harmful chemicals. Add to that heavy metals, PVC, and resins, which are involved in dyeing and printing processes, carcinogens.
Toxic chemicals in the textile industries is out of control. Even though some carcinogens are regulated in the US most textiles are manufactured overseas where regulation is far behind. Only the most toxic are regulated in the US which still leaves a number of chemicals that are still unregulated and can cause allergic reations.
So whats the answer to safe fabric? There is the Oeko-Tex series of standards and certified organics. These are makeing great progress in the toxcity front. OKEO-TEX is world wide association that certifies textiles free from harmful chemical substances from fabric to baby clothes and more.
Certified Orgnaic fabric means the organic is from farm to finished product. These are both a huge part of the solution to safe fabric. So no more chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, solvents, carceinogens and other toxic chemicals that can hurt you or cause an allergic reaction.