This preservative is found in pickles, acidic food and beverage like fruit juice (citric acid), sparkling drinks (carbon dioxide), and soft drinks (phosphoric acid).
Why is this preservative bad?
Benzoic acid and its salts may react with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in some soft drinks, forming small quantities of benzene, which causes cancer and other illnesses. Benzene is a “notorious cause” of bone marrow failure. “Vast quantities of epidemiology, clinical, and laboratory data” link benzene to aplastic anemia, acute leukemia, and bone marrow abnormalities!
In Taipei, Taiwan, a city health survey in 2010 found 30% of tested dried and pickled food products failed a test having too much benzoic acid, which is known to affect the liver and kidney. And I know of other studies in the past that found similar results.
This shows the importance of reading labels and researching ingredients you don’t know! Also, make sure you have a balanced diet and are not consuming these foods/drinks in large quantities and on a regular basis.
1. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th ed., p. 618.
3. Nearly 30% dried, pickled foods fail safety inspections, The China Post, January 18, 2010