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Formic acid 85% is a colourless liquid having a pungent, penetrating odour at room temperature, not unlike the related acetic acid. This product is abundant in nature and has been used for many years as an environmentally friendly alternative in industries such as textiles, natural rubber and leather processing and treatment. It is also used in agriculture (manufacture of fumigants and insecticides), as well as in the production of medicines, cosmetics, detergents and disinfectants. It has excellent properties in controlling acidity, while at the same time effectively restricting microbial growth.
Formic acid is the strongest of the simple, unsaturated carboxylic acids. Furthermore, unlike other organic acids, formic acid has the advantage of being both a carboxylic acid and an aldehyde. It acts, therefore, both as an acidifying and a reducing agent, which clearly gives formic acid enhanced potential for use in industry.