Potassium Benzoate


Potentially Harmful
A preservative added to food to extend shelf life by preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. It is is a white, odorless powder obtained by combining benzoic acid and potassium salt under heat. Commonly found in sodas, sweets, condiments, and processed meats or fish.
Health Impact
When combined with vitamin C, light, or heat, it can form benzene, a strong carcinogen. Foods that contain benzene may also cause cause hives or other severe allergic reactions, especially in people prone to eczema, itchy skin, or a chronically stuffy or runny nose.
Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages
Benzoic acid and its derivatives as naturally occurring compounds in foods and as additives: Uses, exposure, and controversy
Benzene as a Chemical Hazard in Processed Foods
Sensitivity to food additives, vaso-active amines and salicylates: a review of the evidence
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