At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Sodium Benzoate?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Sodium benzoate is a sodium salt that occurring naturally in some foods, but is also widely used as a chemical preservative. It is used mainly as a food preservative, but is also found in cosmetics, dyes, pharmaceuticals, industrial settings. Sodium benzoate is a common ingredient in highly processed foods such as carbonated sodas, vinegar, fruit juices; in mixed ingredients like salad dressings; and to stop the fermentation process in wines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Protection Branch in Canada (HPB) report that in low doses it is safe for consumption, although when combined with ascorbic acid it forms the chemical benzene, a suspected carcinogen.

In Food

Soda often contains sodium benzoate as a preservative.
Soda often contains sodium benzoate as a preservative.

Sodium benzoate naturally occurs in low levels in fruits such as apples, plums, berries and cranberries, and in a few sweet spices, including cloves and cinnamon. When added to foods as a chemical preservative, about 75% of people can taste it. Since it is a sodium salt, it tastes salty, bitter, or sour for most people; but to others it may taste sweet. The FDA currently permits a maximum of 0.1% benzoate in foods. Soft drinks are the number one source of sodium benzoate in the diet. On its own, it is not considered toxic, and studies show no adverse health effects in humans under normal conditions.

Other Uses

Sodium benzoate may be added to wine to stop the fermentation process.
Sodium benzoate may be added to wine to stop the fermentation process.

Besides its use as a preservative in food, sodium benzoate is used in cosmetic products like mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, and shampoo. This is usually done to keep bacteria from growing in the products. It's also used in medicinal syrups, ointments, and pills. Industrially, sodium benzoate acts as a corrosion inhibitor, and is used to keep many different types of metals from rusting. It's commonly used in metal cans containing liquid foods or household cleaners, manufacturing machinery that is exposed to moisture, and in vehicle engines.

Safety Concerns

Commercial salad dressings may contain sodium benzoate as a preservative.
Commercial salad dressings may contain sodium benzoate as a preservative.

When combined with ascorbic acid — also known as vitamin C or citric acid — the preservative converts to benzene, a carcinogen reported to cause leukemia, DNA damage, damage to mitochondria in cells, cell death and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additional studies show that sodium benzoate mixed with certain artificial food coloring causes hyperactivity in children. Since many people consume soft drinks on a regular basis and the preservative is usually unnoticed in most diets, benzene levels may be very high for heavy soda drinkers.

Tests on Food and Resulting Actions

Some fruits, like apples, naturally contain low levels of sodium benzoate.
Some fruits, like apples, naturally contain low levels of sodium benzoate.

In 2005, the FDA tested nearly 200 soft drinks and related beverages for benzene and found only ten that scored higher than the recommended allowance. More than half tested negative for benzene or contained levels that were below the allowance. Still, in response to consumer concerns, soft drink manufacturers in the US have also begun eliminating artificial colors from their drinks to lower benzene levels. The Foods Standard Agency Board (FSAB) of the United Kingdom began removing artificial food coloring from foods in 2009.

Reducing Exposure

Sodium benzoate is often used in cosmetic products, including deodorants.
Sodium benzoate is often used in cosmetic products, including deodorants.

Those who wish to reduce exposure to benzoates should carefully read labels on products and avoid those with benzene, benzoate, or benzoic acid; especially when combined with ascorbic acid, citric acid, and vitamin C ingredients. It may also be a good idea to limit soft drinks and processed fruit juices, especially for children.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


If you drink a lemon juice concentrate with less than 2% Sodium Benzoates in 20 ounces of water, and then 30 minutes later take three thousand mg of vitamin C, will that be considered mixing? If you consume foods with sodium benzoates and drink 8 ounce of orange with it would that be mixing also? Thanks.


I think you need to learn the difference between ascorbic acid and citric acid. They are not the same and do not react with sodium benzoate in the same way.


Despite what you all say about sodium benzoate, this drug is a wonder drug in my opinion. It saved my son and continues to keep him alive. For people with urea cycle disorders, it is essential.


I am allergic to sodium benzoate. I first encountered it in cough medicine. It caused severe hives, a racing heart, severe heart burn like symptoms and my throat closing up. This lasted for six months until I found a naturopath to help me after scores of medical tests where they were unable to find anything wrong. Very scary and I check everything now as when I first got it I was unaware of the cause. I had to go through it twice more when I finally clicked and each time the symptoms got progressively worse. It was scary because not everyone has the same reaction.



You all can argue as much as you want to, but I am living proof. I am a 55 year- old-female who has been ill for two years, with several close to death experiences as a result of anaphylactic shock. It took doctors and specialists two years to find out that I am extremely intolerant/allergic to sodium benzoate, which also causes sensitivity to aspirin/anti-inflammatory drugs and tartrazine. I cannot remember for how many years I have had only diet drinks to try and fight obesity.

Please, young people, you have the knowledge now. Do not feed your children this poison and please look after your own health. Remember, your health is the biggest asset you can ever have.


I'm not a chemist, but I do know citric acid (C6H8O7) and ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) are NOT the same thing, as you can tell from their different chemical formulae. The latter is, in fact, a form of Vitamin C. The former is not. But now I'm not sure whether to trust this article or whether it's truly just ascorbic acid or also citric acid that promotes benzene formation.


Is there any regulation about sodium benzoate production?


@Post 51: My daughter gets hyperactive after taking liquid medicines with sodium benzoate in them. This started when she was a baby (when we gave her Motrin once for teething pain), and happened again at age 4 (cough medicine), and again from a homeopathic cough medicine at age 6. When it happened (the hyperactivity), it was so marked that there is no doubt that it was unnatural and being caused by something she had ingested. I did some research. Do some yourself. You'll find the same thing.


Re: goldenrose22 post92 I'm also offended by that comment. I hope and prey your child stays well. At this time, Sodium benzoate is keeping my daughter alive after only finding out two months ago my 17 month old has OTC. I will be investigating as the doctor has us mixing it with apple juice as my daughter can't keep it down with water. Take care goldenrose22.


Will the vitamin C from a lemon, react with sodium benzoate the same way Ascorbic Acid does?


So many great questions everyone has re: benzoate. From reading the article, it is my understanding that ingesting the benzoate and also ascorbic acid (chemical vit. C) turns the benzoate into benzene, which then can cause cancer. My personal opinion is that all these adulterated foods (manufactured mainly with $$ in mind) is bad for the human body, which when it is given the right natural (God-made) ingredients has the miraculous ability to heal itself. I truly believe that the high fructose corn syrup is possibly even worse than benzoate because it is made from gmo corn, and that can really damage your body. Especially children, are so susceptible to all of these chemical additives in products and I think it damages their bodies even quicker than adults. For information on GMOs you can check out for good information on this.


So many great questions everyone has regarding benzoate. From reading the article, it is my understanding that ingesting the benzoate and also ascorbic acid (chemical vitamin C) turns the benzoate into benzene, which then can cause cancer.

My personal opinion is that all these adulterated foods (manufactured mainly with money in mind) are bad for the human body, which, when it is given the right, natural (God-made) ingredients has the miraculous ability to heal itself.

I truly believe that the high fructose corn syrup is possibly even worse than benzoate because it is made from gmo corn, and that can really damage your body. Children, especially, are so susceptible to all of these chemical additives in products and I think it damages their bodies even quicker than adults.


You do not have to consume large quantities of sodium benzoate to suffer harm. As far as I am aware, the only place it has got to me is via my roll on deodorant but it is interfering with two of my genes: SOD3 and PTPN22 found on a blood test. I suffer from CFS. So avoid it.


Soda is not a drink; it is a confection. For quenching of thirst, we have water. Not tap water, rain water. People have been drinking it for hundreds of thousands of years. Why would you waste money to buy something that is free? Why would you buy something also that has sugar, color, flavoring, preservatives, stabilisers and flavor enhancers? Why? We have many different kinds of animal for meat/protein, hundreds of different fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, mushrooms, nuts, cereals etc. These also grow for free. Consumerism? We all are blind.

People also think they are being healthy when they buy fruit juice. Please, it has no life left in it, very few nutrients, just sugars. Even to juice it ourselves, which if drunk immediately, still has enzymatic activity, it is surely better to consume all the natural fiber along with the fruit. Please, really think about what you put in your bodies.

Not to mention all the synthetic materials we surround ourselves with. All this has a negative effect on the biotic component of this planet.


After consuming a lot of soft drinks in the summer of 2009, I started swelling in different parts of my body including my lips. One day I was sent home from work because of swollen lips. After a few doctors' appointments, we came to the conclusion that I am allergic to sodium benzoate. I now have to read every tin or bottles' label to make sure that crap is not present.


If you cannot pronounce all these ingredients, do not eat or drink them, neither use them externally on your body.


The food and drug administration and especially the government is out to kill. The population is way too high and they are releasing chemicals through airplanes. Wver wonder why their is still a smoky screen hours after a plane passes bye? So even though I respect the questions about sodium benzoate and citric acid, they are the least of your worries.


The addition of EDTA to many acidic food/ products containing sodium benzoate inhibits the chemical changes causing the formation of benzene. So OK if your allergic to sodium benzoate, avoid it, but come on people: as many of you have said do your research and stop the scare mongering. Many tests published online show the theoretical possibilities of the formation of benzene this is not to say that drinking canned drinks containing sodium benzoate will result in you getting cancer later in life. In actual fact, the chances are slim.


@anon110376, Post 73: I was the lady who was giving it to my kid. Yup. From eight months through 30 months old. We increased the dose, gave it more often, and all in all, it wasn’t enough.

One unit of sodium benzoate binds with 1 unit of ammonia and allows it to be removed through the kidneys. When ammonia is floating around in your child’s body and destroying their brain, because their liver is defective and missing a critical enzyme, you do a lot you never could have imagined! Unfortunately, sodium benzoate alone was not enough to keep her stable so we changed her to sodium phenylbutyrate, which I’m sure your research will show you is even worse. But you know what? My child is alive and doing amazingly well today! She’s getting 1.5g 4x/day of this, and every unit of this binds with 2 units of ammonia. If it doesn’t continue working, we’ll put her in the clinical trial for HPN-100. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll face the prospect of a liver transplant, although it’s the last thing we want.

Her disease is called OTC Deficiency (Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency) and her case is severe, despite being a female. When you read a post asking for advice regarding the appropriate way to give a medication to reduce damage as much as possible, perhaps try to be, well, anything except “oh my god” acting like I’m killing my kid. She was dying all on her own before she was started on it quite well, thank you very much, and because of having it for two years, she is currently alive.


@anon110376 - Post 73: How about you just tell us what putting the stuff on a cut does? First off, I don't have a supply of the stuff on hand, and secondly, I wouldn't want to put it on me if it is so bad for me.


Post 88 should consider that older people are not only more analytic, but also more protective and accountable. We have more money to fix the problems of the world, and do so, to the tune of enormous foundation grants for hospitals, libraries, museums, etc. Twenty somethings tend not to make hundred million dollar grants to hospitals. I have never heard of one, even including all entertainers.

Younger and more naive people say "they" and older people more often say "we". We are accountable for watching big business, because these board members of large corporations are people we know personally.


why are all of you so worried about such small amounts of sodium benzoate when Fukushima plant is pouring millions of gallons of highly carcinogenic nuclear water into the ocean and atmosphere and not one country is saying stop to them? What is really so different about Fukushima to Chernobyl? last month a rabbit was born in the the Fukushima area without ears. Need I say more?


I get worried when I see Sodium Benzoate and other additives in ingredients lists, almost to the point of me being scared.

I just think it gets to the point of being paranoid. Not only that, but I think I'm becoming, sort of, an elderly person (Who I feel are the majority of the posters, here). And what i mean is, elderly people tend to over-analyze everything.


Can the remedy that uses Certo and grape juice be bad for you because of the sodium benzoate and vitamin C combination? I recently tried it, but after reading all this I am not so sure its a good thing. It has helped my arthritis pain & other problems as well.

Oh by the way, I don't drink cokes out of cans because you can taste the "can". Since they aren't good for your liver anyway I drink very little coke.


Number 80 is completely right!


Have been experimenting making my own shower gels and was reading a label to see what preservatives are in commercial ones. Yes, you guessed it, in all four very well known brands I had in my bathroom cabinet, sodium benzoate is present. by the way, they have now gone in the bin!


Two words: iodine deficiency. I think I cured my fibromyalgia. I have been taking high doses of it for about three months and I can even begin to explain the wonderful effects. I also add it to my animal's water cats and birds and a number of ailments have cleared up with them as well.

If you have some of the issues of things like fibro or CFS, thyroid problems or some of the other things that I see listed in this thread, look into iodine supplements. This was not something a doctor brought up to me, but I have been dealing with doctors to help with these problems with no solutions for roughly ten years.

When a doctor recently stated my thyroid test came back high, I decided to begin iodine supplements on my own. Three months and Wow. There is no pain in my muscles, way less fatigue issues, clearer thinking and the list goes on. I have been taking about 12.5 mgs per day that is considered high in North America but it's been perfect for me. I do not give the animals that much. I am very careful with it.

It isn't so much that I am recommending this, as just sharing the experience. I have nothing against doctors other than they aren't helpful for certain things and it is our own responsibility to know our own bodies.

And really medicine and nutrition isn't as much of a 'science' as we lead ourselves to believe - we aren't all the same, so even though we can generalize, what works for some won't work for others. If this has piqued your interest because you have problems with fibro type symptoms, thyroid, etc, research iodine.


So glad there are other people out there besides me that know how bad sodium benzoate is, and vaccines and aspartame! Stay away from it! Do your research.


It's kind of funny. My Grandmother is 92 years old and has made a habit of drinking a diet pop every evening for the last forty years or so. She does not have any real memory issues or health concerns that are pressing. My Grandfather died last year at the age of 99 years. He was also in the habit of drinking an evening diet soda right along with my Grandma. He did not suffer from alzheimer's and really he only began 'slowing down' when he was around 92 years old. They haven't had lives of perfect health but they both did and are doing pretty well. Sure, maybe it could've been better but I'm not sure the diet pop habit thwarted their optimal health. They probably could have done without the wars they went through or the poverty and trauma as a result of these war time experiences.

Some people are allergic, some people are sensitive and some people will not have any adverse reaction to soda at all. There are a lot of things to watch out for in this world. Having a physical body is a tough business and constant maintenance. Really makes me wonder why we bother.


The powers that be are slowly poisoning us, and here is a factual list of ways they are and I've done the research.

1. Sodium Benzoate is not harmful on its own --only in the present of an acid or heat it turns into the cancer causing benzene, everything I've seen has an acid present in it.

2. Aspartame the sugar replacement in diet drinks, sugar free foods and gum is not good at all by itself.

3. Sodium Fluoride in toothpaste and most bottled water and added to most towns and cities' water. It is not good for your teeth. This was a false experiment that was propagated by the media in order to sell us poison.

Hitler used fluoride on the jews in concentration camps it kept them docile and weak and slowly killed some of them.

4. Aluminum Zirconium in antiperspirants absorbs through your skin and stays in your body bringing on early onsets of alzheimer's.


Finally!!! Someone else knows how bad sodium benzoate is! If you drink a can (made of aluminum)of coke or coca-cola, the aluminum from the can mixes with the sodium benzoate in the soda, and turns it into benzene. If you want to read more (which I highly recommend), go online, not just for sodium benzoate, but everything else. Oh, and don't use any sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, Sweet n' Low, or even Stevia) because they all have maltodextrin!

Also, don't eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, maltodextrin, aluminum (I know, right?), aspartame, and more. Don't take any vaccines, especially the swine flue vaccine. look it up and you will find out.

Oh! And don't forget the Chem Trails! Chem Trails are those fake clouds up in the sky that are killing you! Look that up, too! This is what I know, and every human being deserves to hear it! Just because this is not on T.V., in the newspapers, or on the radio doesn't mean it's not true. In fact, they aren't allowed to!


"Benzene is deadly and I am living proof."

Post #64 cracks me up!


Logic and reason KO throw down. Food additives (sodium benzoate) are specifically designed to do one thing: screw up the modus operandi of an organism, and we are organisms.

Every time I eat sodium benzoate I experience the following: upon exerting myself, head rushes, floating white dots, pins and needles, nausea, itching fits, feeling weak. Normal, stand by: weakness, nausea, lack of motivation, hot/cold flashes, general malaise.

Experiment: foods contain less than .1 percent concentrations of sodium benzoate, x being the mass of the food item. so standard issue food can contain .1 percent sodium benzoate by volume! holy crap! make a solution of water and sodium benzoate, one part sodium benzoate to even 10,000 parts water.

inflict a topical abrasion (scratch yourself) and one for control. Topically apply your solution to cut 1. Do nothing to cut 2. Observe.

And then try to make any claims that the food industry cares about your health. Try to claim that "as long as the FDA approves it, it's cool man" and oh god i just read a post about some lady giving the crap straight to her kid.


why is sodium benzoate dissolved in water and what is the function of citric acid and malic acid?


I believe that i became allergic to benzoates from drinking too many soft drinks during my teen years (2-3 litres a day of diet pop). i also have the same reactions from aspartame and tartrazine, all ingredients in diet pops.

when i stopped drinking the pop, my body rejected the chemicals and i have a severe adverse reaction to any of them now.

I have excess bloating and gas, i break out in red marks as well as acne, and in many cases, i fall asleep. more so with the benzoates.

these are very harmful chemicals to people who have allergies to them and i urge anyone who believes that this may not be the case to read over other people's stories as well.

this is unfortunately not going away and the only way to remedy this situation is to have everyone informed and make the correct decisions for having more organic and natural foods available.


Sodium benzoate occurs naturally in apples, plums and cranberries. So, all who are reading the info incorrectly read again.


Its simple guys. Try not to consume artificial ingredients because our digestive systems can't process them. No diet soda or sugar free gum, period. You can exercise to lose weight but you can't exercise these chemicals out of your body. Instead they stay in you and clog organs and cells.

Most cocktail mixers have huge concentrations (relative to other beverages) of preservatives, sugar, fake sugars (which are worse for you) and/or high fructose corn syrup. I found a new all natural and zero calorie mixer called refine that has no artificial ingredients or preservatives like sodium benzonate or azpartame (fake sugar) and is instead sweetened with stevia, which is a natural plant in the daisy family!


For the past seven to eight years I have noticed swellings on my body. These swellings also come with itching and burning. I could not pinpoint the problem until my physician told me that it's a food allergy.

I searched and found a common ingredient in some of the things I consume and that ingredient is sodium benzoate. Whenever I consume food and drink that does not have benzoate I am perfectly fine. Not sure why I am allergic to this substance, but it is proving troublesome for me so I'll stay away from it.


Good post 49406! Thanks!


I have been looking for a food-related cause of my rosacea (redness/acne on face) for the last 1.5 years. Currently I'm leaning towards Sodium and Potassium Benzoate as the cause and have been trying to avoid all foods with these ingredients.

I feel it's generally safe, because it's in so many products and therefore is consumed by millions of people daily. But, like any substance, some people react negatively to it.


I am allergic to sodium benzoat., Thank god for an international dermatologist in kansas; he saved my life!

I had a blistery rash all over my body and my legs and ankles were so swollen it was horrible and yes the itching and irritation was like a fire! This went on for a year a half. I can now only eat organic with no chemical relatives of any form of benzene. Benzene is deadly and I am living proof.

I did not want to believe this because I am now handicapped with never ever being able to put lotion or one single thing in my mouth without reading ingredients first, and the above person is wrong. if I mistakenly eat one thing with any derivative of benzoate (which by the way is benzene, look it up), I immediately break out and my ankles swell up. For some one who is allergic to something it takes only a small amount to react. For example, a friend of mine cannot breathe if on the airplane someone opens peanuts. of course she is allergic to them and even inhalation can be fatal to her, so research before posting inaccurate info, for some of us have been punch biopsied to the max, and thank god for a derm in kansas who was determined enough to help me.

If you don't believe me, look up sodium benzoate lawsuits and you will be amazed at the major food industry suits, mainly cigarette smoke and soft drink additives are the most detrimental for high levels that are indeed carcinogenic.

Come on people, do your homework and find that benzene indeed is so toxic and it is all around us. If you spill gas on yourself you will get a large dose of it, because it replaced lead in our fuel systems to solve the problem of knocking in your gas tank. Look it up and learn what is in your water as well!


Many drinks contain this 'preservative'. Use caution and common sense. Is it sensible to ingest preservatives? Are there preservatives in the drugs for people and animals? Come on, people. How long does it take to discover the dangers of government approved particles?

How backed up are the tests and do you realize how expensive testing can be?

Perhaps if you looked toward your local university you could find a researcher to do the testing. It would be quicker and cheaper. Take action and get the answers you are looking for.


I was a MonaVie distributor as well and stopped drinking it when I found out sodium benzoate was in the product. I now am an Eiro distributor and they are a whole food and all natural with not one preservative. Give it a try.


Wow! For years now I have done away with all pre-bottled drinks such as soda, energy and vitamin infused teas or waters, and the like.

In the morning I drink green tea hot-- nothing added. By mid morning to mid afternoon I drink nothing but water (sometimes on the go-- a few V-8's, acai berry juice, or carrot juice as a snack.) I like to add squeezes of fresh citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.) to my water to give me some variety.

At times, like in winter when citrus in the NW is at its highest prices, I'll sometimes buy a few of those Real-Lemon or Real-Lime juices from concentrate in bottles. It lasts longer in the fridge and goes a long way.

For the longest time I just read the part of the label that said 100 percent juice, but I saw the Sod. Benz in the ingredients and have been meaning to look further into exactly what it is and possible factors.

So to say that it only gets into a possible hazard area when combined with citric acid -- hello! What is lemon or lime juice but liquid citric acid/vit. C?

Here I was thinking I was doing my body a favor by keeping it well hydrated with clean pure water and natural vitamin C! I drink about 6-8 litres a day from out of bed in the morning to a glass on my nightstand when I go to sleep.

I am sure there is the idea that the amount of water I consume combined with less than half an ounce of lemon juice per pint and the actual microscopic trace of Sod. Benz would be "per glass" is untraceable. But I feel like that is akin to saying, "you will be fine with mercury levels if you eat 8 ounces or less of the fish you catch out of this river each week." Any level of anything that should not be in my body "in larger quantities," I am going to avoid knowingly putting into my body.

The only poison I have knowledge of that I still consume doses of on purpose is Tequila.

I know I do not have all the facts (and quite frankly I only got through advanced chemistry because my lab partner was a mad chemist genius who had a huge crush on me) but I will go about feeling better knowing that I choose to consume products that I know have the least amount of human additives and interference.

I try to stay as "from my yard, local green grocer, or local sustainable fishery- to my plate" as the times allow. If in doubt, and you are concerned about what is in your pre-packaged product, go fresh!


Alert for asthma patients: all products that contains sodium Benzoate caused an asthma attack to my nine year old child within four hours. We stay out of these products.


This is a response to post #39. Sodium benzoate is not bactericidal, it's bacteriostatic. In other words, it slows the growth of bacteria, but does not kill them.

Except in very high concentrations, sodium benzoate doesn't really kill anything. The preservative has only been shown to be dangerous in high concentrations, and only when these concentrations are combined with vitamin C and certain artificial dyes. There is an almost infinite amount of worse ingredients in food that you need to worry about.


Remember, the main cause of foodborne illnesses is bacteria, not the preservatives that prevent bacteria. Remember also that these preservatives are in the food in only trace amounts.

More important than it not being in food is the amount at which it is in food. And did you know that you need elevated temperatures and/or light to stimulate the formation of benzene in this way anyway?

And another fact: sugar inhibits the formation of benzene, so it’s nice that sugar is a popular soda ingredient as well. The FDA noted in their 2005 study that the amount of benzene formed in soft drinks was too miniscule to be a problem.

They also noted that “the vast majority of beverages sampled to date (including those containing both benzoate preservative and ascorbic acid) contain either no detectable benzene or levels below the 5 ppb EPA MCL for drinking water.”

You will find much more benzene in the car exhaust filled air we all breathe everyday, so wear your gas masks I guess. As long as you are not allergic, this should have no adverse affect at the concentrations used.

Don't take my word, check it out. Skepticism is good.

Oh, in response to 51 and 49: I heard that a study done on candies showed that when you mix certain food colorants (commonly found in candies) with this preservative it causes hyperactivity in children.

I bet that hyperactivity has nothing to do with the sugar that is the main ingredient in these candies, and everything to do with the small amount of preservatives.


In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate does form benzene, a known carcinogen, however the levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption [8]. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.

So, you can receive a slow drip of poison by drinking drinks that have sodium benzoate in it.


I am sodium benzoate free for three years now. when I cleared my refrigerator of all items with this ingredient there was almost nothing left in it. all diet sodas contain it. it seems to be added to foods for diet conscious people.

seeing as in winter we double the dose of vitamin c this gives the average consumer a greater risk.

I just heard on t.v. that 50 percent of lung cancer cases are in non smokers. the overwhelming rate of cancer my sister included is a shock. her fridge was full of products containing sodium benzoate. i've been talking about this for years. the use of plastic containers reacts with sodium benzoate too. we are consuming this from multiple forms. it's also in liquid tylenol for children and other vitamins. read the labels.


If Vit C and benzoate are mixed, it produces benzene. What more do you need to know? My brother has leukemia and it's a known fact benzene causes leukemia!


I'm allergic to this preservative. Noticed a few years ago that I was suddenly allergic to canned soups. Traced it to sodium benzoate that the canning companies had switched to as a preservative.

I've read it is a common allergy for asthmatics like myself. I have to check for it on all canned soups, chili, diet sodas and such. Sometimes it is called benzoate of soda instead.


I know someone who is a distributor for MonaVie. He drank a lot of the juice. Guess what? He got cancer. He drank more MonaVie thinking it would be good. Apparently, the MonaVie did not do a single thing for his cancer, but actually prevented the chemo from targeting the cancer cells. Go figure.


Sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (a.k.a. vitamin c) can coexist in equilibrium without generating benzene, it is only when they are not added in the proper mixture that the required enthalpy change is generated and benzene is created.

to recap: benzene is only created when sodium benzoate and vitamin C aren't 'in balance.'


In response to post number 49: yes, I heard sodium benzoate causes ADHD, as well as chicken, coca-cola, and being homosexual.

Why don't all of us leave the science-talk to the *Scientists*

If you're interested in this kind of stuff buy a book.

Organic chemistry isn't that difficult.


@comment47 - It's incredibly ignorant to think something is safe for consumption because of an FDA label, and plain dumb to say it's safe as long as it's taken it by itself. As if saying "ahhh, it's only bad when it combines with vitamin C. Pfft." This stuff is in a lot of fruit products which naturally contain *gasp* vitamin C.


It can cause hyperactivity and ADHD symptoms in children.

Not everything bought in a supermarket needs to have sodium benzoate in it. I have no idea how the pioneers put up fruit and vegetables to make it through the winter then if we can't live without it. (Dripping sarcasm.)


For anon49406, try oil of oregano for sinus problems. excellent. make sure it is mediterranean grown.


Everyone chill out. Any food product in a supermarket - bottled or canned must be preserved. Period. The alternative of not preserving products would be catastrophic. Bacteria is a bad thing is food products.

This product inhibits bacterial growth in your soda, water, etc. Pick your poison. The FDA rules this one okay. Good enough for me. By the way: sodium benzoate does not cause cancer. Benzene does.

When sodium benzoate reacts with Vitamin C, it creates Benzene. By itself, sodium benzoate is safe.


what kind of substances is it? [ionic,covalent, or metallic?]


Does anyone know if grapes contain sodium benzoate? I'm afraid the lists I have only mention a few fruits and veg. not too informative unfortunately.


This is in response to post #34. Benzene is a *carcinogen*. The allowalable limit for Benzene in drinking water 5 parts per *billion*. That's 5 micrograms per liter. It doesn't take an awful lot to do harm, it actually takes just a little to do harm.


After suffering for some years with sinus problems, I thought I was allergic to grass because each time the grass was cut I felt terrible. It is no good going to the doctors because they jut give you sprays with steroids to stick up your nose.

I wanted to find out what was causing the problem so I took myself off to an allergy doctor and in one visit with the skin testing on the arm and a blood test - problem solved. Sodium benzoate showed up in the blood test and it was very high.

This necessitated a trip to a Dietician and after following the correct diet I feel great - up in the morning without feeling flat, no nose dripping or continual headaches. I was just poisoning my body wholesale. One would be amazed to find out all the things I can't eat but I wanted to know all the things I could eat - positive thinking. Bear this in mind and research with regard to feeding babies.


Finally the truth is being exposed about the additives and preservatives, such as sodium benzoate, that are added to most of our beverages on the market today. Not only that, but 99 percent of all beverages have used pasteurization, hot fill or asceptic processing. So, what value are consumers really getting in their drinks today? There is a solution.


wow this site helped me a lot. i'm sitting in my class and i was supposed to do this project like a week ago on sodium benzoate and this stuff is so straightforward.


Sodium Benzoate is poison basically designed to kill bacteria. Unfortunately this also kills many other vital ingredients in our beverages today. No way I will be putting "Poison" into my body. Do your own research on the ingredients in the things you consume. There are so many harmful, unnatural ingredients inside most beverages. There is a beverage however, that is changing all of that and will revolutionize the beverage industry.


so many questions... And *no answers*. Smells fishy already.

Is it carcinogenic? *Yes*! Will it affect you and your children right away? Sometimes it will affect only future generations. How many tests are conducted to trace generations of rats on this poison? *None*!

Now do me a favor - *stop* drinking this! Educate yourself.

I just went to CostCo - I will never ever go to this store again! They are poisoning people at daylight!

Why is *everyone* asleep? Why is everyone acting like a sheep? Wake up!


The sodium benzoate/citric acid issue is a bunch of rubbish. Even if benzene is produced, you would need to consume an awful lot for any harm to be done. Benzene isn't cumulative, you do more harm to yourself worrying about all this.


There are many products on the market that contain ingredients that are carcinogenic and they have been approved by the FDA. Avoid *all* chemical additives as our liver is not designed to break down non-foods.


I am assuming that sodium benzonate is added in all the fruit packs we get in supermarkets? How come the apple doesn't go brown and the fruit stays fresh? One thing to consider is vacuum-packing, but even if you open a bag of little apple pieces, they still don't go brown for days!!!what is added in there? Confused!


from this article i lerned that i should cut down on the soda!!!


Well this was *very* helpful. even though im 14, im a bit of a nerd so i like to read up on stuff a bit and my mom was saying that A&W RootBeer is bad for me. i understand that because of the high calorie level so drinking too much i'll get pudgy, so with this i can finally show her that sodium benzoate isn't as bad as she thinks it is

Also ill be sure to tell my mom to cut down on the ginger ale which contains *both* sodium benzoate *and* citric acid. Marshall.B


I am another (new) Monavie distributor. I need to know the answers to the questions other distributors asked about sodium benzoate added as a preservative.


I drink MonaVie twice a day and after reading this article I am concerned about whether it is doing me good or harm? Please give me the facts surrounding this.


Professor Jim Stevenson of Southampton University in England has a few "Interesting" revelations about the possible serious detrimental effects of sodium benzoate and artificial food color on young children.

Google, now ban the additives/Daily mail newspaper U.K.

Steve Canada


I also drink Mona Vie and so do my wife and kids. I also tried getting an answer from Mona Vie and they simply would not give me an answer. Can someone tell me if drinking it could cause cancer? It has 25% vit. C plus Sodium Benzoate and potassium sorbate as perservatives. Can this be Carcinogenic?


Does sodium benzoate cause you to vomit or make your stomach fell funny?


I am also a Mona Vie distributor and was asked about sodium benzoate mixed with foods that have vitamin C. I would like any feed back and information you might have. Is it dangerous and a cancer causing agent? Thank you so much.


Is Sodium Benzoate contained in lipstick causing swollen lips?


there is a new product in african market stores. its ginger paste,it has benzoate, vinegar and ginger. please the benzoate is serving as the preservative.

will it have any effect on human consumption?


If combining sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid produces the carcinogen benzene and destroys cells, then are we saying that eating fruits such as apples (which contains both) is killing our cells and contributing (albeit in a small way) towards causing cancer. Does this mean that we should avoid eating more than so many apples a day? Not so sure about an apple a day keeps the doctor away' anymore.


I have a hard time drinking a lot of water so i drink instant tea and crystal lite. I have water retention in my legs bad enough that they will seep water. could something in the tea or crystal lite cause water retention?


I also take Mona Vie and wondered if the sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate has harmful effects when combined with the Vitamin C in the drink?


I am also a Mona Vie distributor and was asked the quetin about sodium benzoate mixed with food that have vitamin C. I would like any feed back and information you might have. Thank you so much.


I would like to know the truth concerning the ingredient sodium benzoate and the safe limits it has when it is used as a preservative in health products particularly Mona Vie. What regulations are there for the company that produces it and do they have a responsibility to those who are distributors for its safe use in the product? It is listed as an ingredient, but to what degree and is it the added chemical or that which is automatically in the fruits that naturally contain it? How and where do I get this information that should be available and factual?


My daughter takes sodium benzoate for OTC Deficiency. Her dose is 1gm/3mL, 2.5mL twice per day. Is it something we should avoid giving near the same time as juices/items with vitamin C to avoid the carcinogenic effect? Is the fact that it's diluted in cherry syrup also a danger?


Preservative 211 is really bad for you... it is bad in any quantity and should be avoided. if you want to drink soft drinks drink schwepps lemonade.


Hi, I was reading some of the questions regarding sodium bensoate found in Mona Vie. Could you tell me more specifically about the mix with vitamin C?

Thanks, Jean


IS sodium Benzoate considered a carbohydrate? or is it more like a vitamin?


We are interested in sodium benzoate with regard to MonaVie and see that two other people have asked the same question, i.e., when mixed with Vitamin C does it produce benzene and the implications of this given that MonaVie is meant to be anti-cancer.


hello this is in conjunction with the question about Mona Vie I am a distributor of the product and was asked the same question about sodium benzote, and potassium sorbate, the food contains vitamin c, would appreciate a return comment or answer thank you..


I was wondering about the combination of potassium sorbate, citric acid and sodium benzoate? Is that a carcinogenic combination?


Regarding this information posted on your site:There have been some health concerns about the combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid or vitamin C. When the two are mixed, they can form the chemical benzene, which is carcinogenic. I have been drinking 4 fl oz of Monavie a day, which contains Vit C 25% in 1 fl oz and sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate as perservatives. Could this be carcinogenic to the average person?


when sodium benzoate is mixed in fruit juices does it produce the benzene which is dangerous and cancer causing?


I heard that sodium benzoate causes cancer and is used in the coffee decaffination process. Is this true? Is there a coffee decaffination process that does not use sodium benzoate? If so, which coffee brands don't use this process?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Soda often contains sodium benzoate as a preservative.
      By: karandaev
      Soda often contains sodium benzoate as a preservative.
    • Sodium benzoate may be added to wine to stop the fermentation process.
      By: stokkete
      Sodium benzoate may be added to wine to stop the fermentation process.
    • Commercial salad dressings may contain sodium benzoate as a preservative.
      By: SunnyS
      Commercial salad dressings may contain sodium benzoate as a preservative.
    • Some fruits, like apples, naturally contain low levels of sodium benzoate.
      By: tesgro
      Some fruits, like apples, naturally contain low levels of sodium benzoate.
    • Sodium benzoate is often used in cosmetic products, including deodorants.
      By: Dmitry Vereshchagin
      Sodium benzoate is often used in cosmetic products, including deodorants.
    • Sodium benzoate is found naturally in cloves.
      By: bergamont
      Sodium benzoate is found naturally in cloves.
    • Some types of mouthwash contain sodium benzoate.
      By: ijacky
      Some types of mouthwash contain sodium benzoate.
    • Sodium benzoate is found naturally in plums.
      By: volff
      Sodium benzoate is found naturally in plums.
    • Reducing benzoates in the diet requires careful reading of food labels.
      By: Kadmy
      Reducing benzoates in the diet requires careful reading of food labels.