Did You Know?After the widespread publicity about the dangers of sodium benzoate, Coca Cola, in 2008, decided to reformulate their beverage without adding this compound.
Sodium benzoate is well-known for its antimicrobial properties; hence, it is often added in soft drinks and processed foods to lengthen their shelf life. So, when it is used as an additive, it protects food from disease-causing bacteria, yeast, and molds. This compound is naturally found in small amounts in a wide range of fruits, which is not something to worry about. However, the one that is synthesized artificially can be detrimental to health.
→ Although sodium benzoate helps in preventing mold growth, its interaction with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a cause for grave concern. Its reaction with vitamin C produces benzene that is notorious for causing cancer in humans. A host of studies have shown that long-term exposure to benzene can lead to bone marrow failure and leukemia (blood cancer).
→ Also, there is a possibility that benzene levels may increase with increase in room temperature and exposure to light. So, on a hot summer day, the soft drink that is kept in your car or the processed juice placed on the store shelf might have higher benzene levels than the prescribed limits for human consumption.
→ The salad dressing packets, jams available in glass jars, fruit juices packed in tetra packs, pickles sold in small pouches, or packaged shredded cheese, all contain sodium benzoate in small amounts. So, one should not externally add vitamin C to these products in order to prevent any sort of harmful reaction.
→ Apart from its well-established carcinogenic nature, benzene can damage the liver, lungs, brain, and the heart. It is proven that benzene can alter DNA and cause mutations, eventually leading to cancer. Benzene particularly targets the mitochondria of DNA t