This ingredient is in SO many processed foods and is used as a preservative in many soft drinks and juices. Sodium benzoate is a man made chemical compound thats created when you mix benzoate acid with sodium hydroxide. Benzoate, is actually a naturally occurring ingredient that is found in fruits and spices. However, when combined with sodium it becomes a toxic additive. So why isn’t this combination safe if the FDA and Canadian Health Protection Branch have allowed it in our foods and beverages (in small amounts)?
The FDA has rated this additive as “safe” up to .10% (by weight) in foods and in water the limit is 5 parts per billion (ppb). This all too common food and liquid additive can be found in
- fruit juices
- salad dressings
- fermented foods (vinegar, wine, pickles)
While the Food and Drug Administration has recognized it as safe in these foods, it’s hardly natural, healthy, and can be dangerous. Here are the real facts.
This naturally occurring salt can be found in low levels in apples, plums, berries, cinnamon, and a lot of other natural foods. Here’s the scary part, when the labs create sodium benzoate (and it’s by product, benzoic acid) things get serious! Adding these preservatives to foods and beverages and placing them in metal cans has a horrible affect on your health. It gets even worse when sodium benzoate is combined with vitamin C (citric acid or ascorbic acid)!
The Affects of Sodium Benzoate
This additive can create asthma attacks, hives, and other allergic reactions. When combined with vitamin C, they create benzene which is a known cancer-causing chemical linked to leukemia and other blood cancers.
Knowing that this was a horrible and potentially harmful interaction, the FDA retested several products in 2005 and 2007. Those products that failed to be within the standards were reformulated and placed back on the shelf at lower rates. While it may seem as though this is a “win” for the American people, this doesn’t guarantee that all products were reviewed and revamped. Not to mention that this was done almost a decade ago.
More than 200 brands were reported to have benzene last year in 2008. More than a third of the beverages were reported to have exceeded the acceptable levels of benzene. An internal memo was found showing that the soda companies have known about benzene in products for the past 18 years, but they chose not to reveal this fact. Coca Cola responded by saying, there’s more benzene in cigarette smoke, gasoline, and tuna than in their products (source).
If you have to compare your beverage (which is ingested) to cigarette smoke, and gasoline, there’s a huge issue!
Other Links – Children and Cell Destruction
The Mayo clinic stated that food dyes and sodium benzoate also have a link to ADHD. Triggering hyperactivity in children.
Other lab studies found that when this additive was added to human cell cultures, it destroyed the DNA cells at a much faster rate. Remember, cell destruction at a rapid pace can lead to cell mutations and cancer.
Not Just in Your Foods and Beverages
I’d like to tell you that it stops at food and beverages but it doesn’t! It gets worse. It can also be found in beauty products, mouthwash, shampoos, lotions, and deodorant. It’s added to these products as a way to prevent bacteria from growing in these items.
- Benzene levels may increase with heat and light exposure. Leaving beverages and foods in hot places such as the car or on a warm store shelf, may increase levels beyond the “safe” levels.
- Don’t add extra vitamin C to foods that contain sodium benzoate. This will create the chemical reaction known as benzene. This toxic reaction is known to create a carcinogen.
How to Avoid Sodium Benzoate
While it may seem like a daunting task, it could be one that saves your life and prevents allergies and other common disorders. Know what to look for and scan your products around the house. Think of it as a “health scavenger hunt.” Take a walk into your bathroom and your kitchen, then look for these ingredients …
- benzonic acid
- sodium benzoate
Fitness Tip: Pay close attention to the terms above ↑ in combination with “ascorbic acid,” “citric acid,” or “vitamin c.” Mixing these two ingrediants is the DNA killer that affects the mitochondria of the cell.
If you’re looking to achieve optimal health and prevent disease, ridding your foods and your beauty products of sodium benzoate is key. My suspicion is that reducing these food additives could also cut down on other reactions that your body may be having.