What is Sodium Benzoate?
When sodium benzoate mixes with ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, the two form benzene. Heat and time play a role in this reaction. Benzene is a carcinogen, which may cause leukemia, DNA damage, and cell damage, and aggravates symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In addition, studies show that mixing this additive with other artificial flavorings and preservatives causes hyperactivity in children. Some people are also sensitive to this additive and experience gastric irritation or allergic reactions after ingesting it.
What Foods and Drinks Typically Contain Sodium Benzoate?
Some fruits, such as apples, cranberries, and plums contain low levels of naturally occurring sodium benzoate. Manufacturers mainly add this preservative to acidic foods, such as pickles, jams, and fruit juices, and foods that contain vinegar, such as salad dressings. When added to wine, it stops the fermentation process. Sodium benzoate, indicated in the ingredient list of food and drinks as E211, is common in soft drinks. It increases the drinks' acidity, which increases the intensity of the flavor of corn syrup, a common ingredient in soft drinks. This additive is also common in fruit juice.
Sodium benzoate is an additive commonly found in processed foods, especially those with a high acid content. When it mixes with ascorbic acid, this chemical may form benzene, a carcinogen that can cause cell damage. The FDA has deemed consumption in the concentrations found in food to be safe. However, sodium benzoate may react with other additives, causing hyperactivity in children. Do not allow children to drink large amounts of soda or processed fruit juice. If you want to avoid this additive, check the label on food and drinks.