What's Sodium Benzoate?
Sodium benzoate, also known as E211, is a salt product of benzoic acid. The ingredient can be naturally in cranberries, prunes, plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. The substance is widely used as a preservative in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. It can also be used as a fragrance ingredient, masking ingredient, and anti-corrosive agent.
The problem with this additive isn’t the ingredient itself, but rather when combined with ascorbic acid (or vitamin C). It forms a chemical reaction and the byproduct called benzene. According to the American Cancer Society, benzene is known to be a cancer-causing agent based on evidence from both human and animal studies.
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designates sodium benzoate as a “generally recognized as safe” ingredient.