Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It occurs naturally in many plants, has an extremely low toxicity level, has been proven as non-carcinogenic and has been used for many years in both the food and cosmetic industries. It is approved for use worldwide and is included on the European Union Cosmetics Directive's "Positive List" (Europe has banned more than 1,200 ingredients due to safety concerns). It has also been approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health & Welfare in both rinse-off and leave-in applications. Japan abides by the most stringent criteria in the world concerning what ingredients can be used in personal care products.
There are some concerns about Sodium Benzoate:
- When Sodium Benzoate, the primary ingredient in Geogard Ultra, is combined with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) they create a chemical known as Benzene. This occurs due to the decarboxylation of benzoic acid when in the presence of ascorbic acid. This happens most consistently when these two components are exposed to heat and light. Benzene is carcinogenic. Additionally, Benzene fed to mice causes mitochondrial degeneration - one of the primary causes of aging and cell death. It is important to note that both components, (heat & light) must be present for this change to occur. Sodium Benzoate on its own is considered non-carcinogenic.
Deciding which preservative system will work best with your personal needs should be done with diligence and research. For those comfortable with the data concerning Sodium Benzoate, it can be an excellent alternative to harsher, more toxic preservatives.
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