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Sodium Benzoate

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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.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration CFF – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

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