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Sodium benzoate is a preservative added to some sodas, packaged foods, and personal care products to prolong shelf life.

Some people claim that this man-made additive is harmless, while others link it to cancer and other health problems.

This article provides a detailed overview of sodium benzoate, including its uses and possible safety concerns.

Sodium benzoate is best known as a preservative used in processed foods and beverages to extend shelf life, though it has several other uses.

It’s an odorless, crystalline powder made by combining benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide. Benzoic acid is a good preservative on its own, and combining it with sodium hydroxide helps it dissolve in products (1).

Sodium benzoate does not occur naturally, but benzoic acid is found in many plants, including cinnamon, cloves, tomatoes, berries, plums, apples, and cranberries (2Trusted Source).

Additionally, certain bacteria produce benzoic acid when fermenting dairy products like yogurt