Sodium Benzoate | How to Prevent Aging and Cancer

Benzoates are widely used preservatives

Sodium benzoate (also known as E211) is a chemical preservative used to help inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus in acidic products. It is linked to aging and cancer and is widely used in foods, beverages, cosmetic, dental care products, and pharmaceuticals that contain:

  • Vinegar (salad dressings, pickled foods)
  • Carbonic acid (carbonated drinks)
  • Citric acid (jams, fruit juices, cough syrups, baby wipes, liquid hand soaps)
  • Alcohol (alcohol-based mouthwash)
  • Other high acids (soy sauce, Chinese food sauces)

Manufactured from Crude Oil

Sodium benzoate is used in some sodas
Sodium benzoate is used in some sodas

Sodium benzoate is the sodium salt of benzoic acid. This crystalline powder is produced by reacting sodium hydroxide (lye) with benzoic acid.  Benzoic acid is commercially manufactured by reacting toluene with oxygen.  Toluene is:

  • Related to benzene (a carcinogenic substance).
  • Found in crude oil and used to make gasoline.
  • Also known as methylbenzene or phenylmethane.

Due to the unpleasant aftertaste of sodium benzoate and not so much for toxicity, sodium benzoate concentration is limited by the FDA in the U.S. and should not exceed 0.1% by weight.  Potassium benzoate, the potassium salt of benzoic acid, is an alternative preservative to sodium benzoate.  When lower sodium content is required, potassium benzoate is used in place of sodium benzoate.    Continue reading “Sodium Benzoate | How to Prevent Aging and Cancer”