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wrote on Saturday, March 24, 2007
ascorbic acid is vitatmin c, and it is a weak acid
sodium benzoate is a "standard preservative"
if you combine the two, you may get a small amount of
sodium ascorbate and benzoic acid
Benzoic acid is not benzene
A small amount of the benzoic acid could be then converted to bezene, but this is not a normal pathway in acid foods.
Something in the solution would have to strip the COOH
carboxylate group from the benzoic acid.
The worse case would give you 10ug (micro grams) per serving of benzene. Driving on the road gives you about 40ug per hour, and average daily exposure is abou 200ug/day for non smokers and over 8000ug/day at one pack of cigarettes per day.
Any amount of benzene is not good for you but the amount you would get from soft drinks and other foods is small.
The citric and phosphoric acids in soft drinks and the amount of sugar in non diet soft drinks provide a larger health risk than the benzene produced by the benzoate preservatives used.
The UK Food Standards Agency has stated that people would need to drink at least 20 litres per day of a drink containing benzene at 10 µg to equal the amount of benzene you would breathe from city air every day.
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Cancer causing chemicals in soft drinks and juices
||Guest_2876 wrote on Saturday, June 10, 2006|
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is committed to delivering the information to protect people's health and your right to know about dangerous chemicals in the products you buy.
Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the names of five beverages that it found had high levels of cancer-causing benzene. Two brands -- Safeway Diet Orange soda and Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange -- had 17 times the level of benzene that is allowed in tap water. Several major manufacturers, including Kraft and Schweppes, agreed to reformulate their beverages.
To see a list of the most-contaminated beverages, and EWG's media statement, go to http://www.ewg.org/issues/toxics/20060519/index.php
Sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid are two chemicals that combine to form benzene, a potent carcinogen (a chemical that causes cancer.)
Benzene's toxicity is not in dispute. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Benzene is carcinogenic to humans and no safe level of exposure can be recommended." It is directly linked to leukemia and crosses the placenta to the fetus at levels greater than or equal to the amount in the mother's blood. The chemical is frequently detected in the food supply as a result of industrial pollution, making additional and avoidable exposures of even greater concern.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), recent test results show that "there's a serious problem with benzene in soda and juices... There should be a zero tolerance policy for benzene in any consumer product. There's simply no excuse for this potent carcinogen to be in any drink."
What should you do to avoid drinking benzene?
Scan your drink's label for the ingredients that can combine to form benzene: sodium benzoate (or potassium benzoate) and ascorbic acid (or vitamin C). Be aware that prolonged storage and warm conditions can easily facilitate benzene formation.
Sources: 1. FDA Finds High Benzene Levels in Limited Test of Drinks (http://www.ewg.org/issues/toxics/20060519/index.php)
2. FDA Data Undercut Public Safety Assurances by Top Agency Official
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